Victims of Cyberbullying, during COVID-19, in Indian Perspective: A Review


By- Priya Saraswat , LLM Student , Manipal University , Jaipur

One of the main cyber-risks is to think they dont exist.

– Stephane Nappo

As we all know that, in the 21st century, most of the things are done usually over the internet, whether it be online dealing or online gaming. While spending most of the time online, we get victims of cybercrimes, be it cyberbullying or any other aspects of it. Cybercrime is an online web, where individual get stuck and harassed most of the times, and one area of concern is victim of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is online bullying of persons, by threats and mental torture. The present research provides an overview of the factors responsible for cyberbullying & changes in the factors due to outbreak of covid-19. The main focus of this research reveals that, there is an increase in number of cyberbullying cases during pandemic. Initially, this study presents, meaning of cyberbullying, objectives of this study & methodology been followed. It than conducts an extensive literature review on Factors Responsible for Cyberbullying Cases during pandemic & it's effects & than a statistical observation on it. It proceeds with Results & Discussions, Suggestions & Criticisms & followed by Conclusion on the same. This Research covers all these aspects in general. 

Keywords: Cybercrime, Cyberbullying, Covid-19, Victim, social media, online gaming. 

Cyberbullying is through the medium of social media such as Instagram and through online gaming activity & gaming chat platform, that is used to threaten and harass someone. India stood at Rank third in Cyberbullying Cases and highest number of child cyberbullying cases reported in India among 24 countries. So, this research will enable to understand the factors and reasons behind Cyberbullying and the main idea behind this research is to study the changes in the factors, due to outbreak of Coronavirus Pandemic. So, the study is divided into two periods, Period I (Oct. 2019) & Period II (June 2020) which shows that, there is an increment in number of cases in Period II. This study is done on the same targeted audience, during different time period, that covers cyberbullying cases, before and during pandemic. 

Cyberbullying can be termed as online bullying and it is, as different from offline bullying. Online platform is more prone to use during pandemic which is one factor among all. And the person, who are disable and get socially influenced easily, are the victims. And the Impact of cyberbullying is much negative, as it affect the mental of a victim. This study is more of victim centric. And the focus is on, the study of Online environment, which took a rapid change during pandemic, as people get more involved at online platform, whether it be for, school or business work. So, this article study, the cyberbullying cases during pandemic, which is not covered by previous or existing research.

The survey has been followed by the Questionnaire format, which has been asked to the victims of cyberbullying and it has been classified into independent and dependent variables.
Independent variable covers factors such as: 
Demographics: The age between 15-25 were surveyed while neither disclosing sex and sexual orientation. 

Social media: This was the medium between bully and the victims, resulting in crime. And top three social media networks were, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp etc. 

Online Gaming: This was the another factor in consideration and the victim was observed on how much years, hours, they spend on gaming. 

Than comes the Dependent Variables, covering the factors such as: 
Interaction with Cyberbullies: This study the actual perception of how the victims face this act of cyberbullying by them, so they were asked with more objective questions rather than being subjective. Such as; did they faced any abusive statements, harassed sexually, share any personal information or been a victim of stalking rather being asking "Whether they been Cyberbullied"? 

Statistical Observation:
This research reveal that, there was in increase in cyberbullying cases during pandemic, due to increase in usage of social media including LinkedIn, WhatsApp & Telegram and also there was increase in online gaming and the hour's they spent on it. 

Results & Discussions:
The research has found that, those who were victim of cyberbullying, came in contact with bully, through the medium of social media and that cover's Instagram and online gaming, supported by hour's they spend on it and the age groups between 17-18 are covered and almost 80% of it bullied, during covid-19.