Cyberbullying is a modern-day scourge and cause of great concern to parents and school management alike.
At DRS we are striving to drive a campaign of awareness and understanding of the meaning of the various forms of cyberbullying and the serious consequences of such actions.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying includes acts involving bullying and harassment through electronic devices or technology.
Cyberbullying is perpetrated in the following ways:
- Text messages
- Picture/video clips(via mobile phones)
- Mobile phone calls
- Chat rooms
- Instant messages
- Website and blogs
- Social networking sites (such as Facebook, Twitter)
- Internet gaming
What is Sexting?
Sexting involves the sending of nude or semi-nude photos or videos and /or sexually suggestive messages via mobile phone texting or instant messaging. Among children, sexting refers to sexually explicit texts, or nude, or partially nude images of minors sent to minors, and these images may in some instances be classified as child pornography. Cyberbullying and sexting may result in victims suffering from anxiety, depression and worse it can lead to grave consequences for the victim.
Legal Consequences of Cyberbullying
The perpetrator may be criminally charged with the following offences:
- Crimen injuria – consists of the unlawful, intentional, and serious violation of the dignity or privacy of another person.
- Assault – any unlawful and intentional act or omission which results in another person’s bodily integrity being directly or indirectly impaired or which inspires a belief or fear in another person that such impairment will be carried out.
- Criminal defamation – is the unlawful and intentional publication of a matter concerning another, which tends to seriously injure his or her reputation. This includes both verbal and written defamation.
- Extortion – is committed when a person unlawfully and intentionally obtains what is legally described as ‘an advantage’ and then subjects another to pressure/demands. The perpetrator can be sued for damages and defamation.
Legal Consequences of Sexting
Sending, or sharing, nude or semi-nude photos or videos and/or sexually suggestive messages via mobile phone texting or instant messaging (sexting) between children may, depending on the content, fall within the scope of the prohibition of possessing or creating, producing, and distributing child pornography. Also, if a child aids, abets, induces, incites, instigates, instructs, commands, counsels, or procures another child to take and send such a photo of the latter to the first child or another person, he or she will be guilty of an offence.
- A person found guilty of child pornography may be sentenced to a fine or imprisonment or both.
- A conviction in terms of Section 19 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters)
Amendment Act,2007 (Act 32 of 2007)may also result in the offender’s particulars being registered in the National Register for Sex Offenders.
- Moreover, victims of cyberbullying can apply at the nearest Magistrate’s Court for a protection order in terms of the Protection from Harassment Act, 2011 (Act 17 of 2011)
I hope this information proves helpful and advise you to watch this space for my next article which will provide tips on “Parenting Gamers.”