There are many definitions that you can find online which describes Cyber Bullying. In Trinidad and Tobago those definitions are no different and the term Cyber Bully was once defined in the Cyber Crime Bill as follows:
A Cyberbully is someone who uses a computer system repeatedly or continuously to convey information which causes fear, intimidation, distress or other harm to another person; or detriment to another person’s health, emotional well-being, self-esteem or reputation.
So let’s break that down a bit.
In the definition above, the ‘computer system’ being referred to includes all internet connected devices like mobile phone, computers, tablets, game consoles etc. We can use those computer systems to send texts, messages photos or videos and share them online in social media, forums, gaming sites or pretty much anywhere people can view, participate or share that content.
And what exactly can cause 'fear, intimidation, distress..' or other types of harm to a person? Well it can be something as simple as a mean text like 'you're ugly' or as bad as a fake image of the person (photoshopped or doctored image). All of which can have very little to very severe consequences.
The most common places where Cyber Bullying occurs include:
- Social Media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter
- SMS (Short Message Service) also known as Text Message sent through devices
- Instant Message (such as WhatsApp, iMessage, Skype etc)
We can look at the differences between ‘Traditional’ bullying and Cyber Bullying in the diagram below. While there are many differences, the key similarity is what is important. They both can cause serious long term damage.
All countries would have various sanctions against persons who get caught in the act of cyber bullying. The proposed sanctions for Trinidad and Tobago can be seen below.
The latest version of the Trinidad and Tobago Cyber Crime bill can be found here (http://www.ttparliament.org/legislations/b2017h15g.pdf ) Inside this bill, various fines for misuse of computer systems can be found.
Cyber Bullying isn't an activity you want to witness or even be a victim of. Some comments, images about a person may be funny to you but it can cause sever emotional distress to another one. It is best that you report any Cyber Bullying activity to someone who can help such as a teacher, parent or even the local police (they can then escalate the matter to the Cyber Crime Unit).
Lastly, THINK before you post online; follow the rules outlined in the message below for a safer and happier internet: