Update 11.26.2022 Article: Collective Pushback Against Cyberbullying
Update May 31, 2022: Stop the hate and you’ll stop bullying
April 23, 2022: Use of stalkerware without consent is digital abuse and a form of cyberbullying
Of the top 5 cybercrimes in 2020, at least 3 can be associated with Cyber bullying.
The top five cybercrimes during the 7-month period of 2020 were online scams, online libel, computer-related identity thefts, anti-photo and video voyeurism, and illegal access to someone else’s online account.
While online libel is directly related to cyberbullying, the commission of identity theft, anti-photo, and video voyeurism, and illegal access to someone else’s online account can also result in online bullying.
What is cyberbullying
Let’s refer to Republic Act 10627 for the definition. Though this law is intended for minors, we can lift the framework to get a working definition.
SEC. 2. Acts of Bullying
Any severe or repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression, or a physical act or gesture, or any combination thereof, directed at another student that has the effect of actually causing or placing the latter in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm or damage to his property; creating a hostile environment at school for the other student; infringing on the rights of the other student at school, or materially and substantially disrupting the education process or the orderly operation of a school;
When cyberbullying is not
Protected speech is not cyberbullying because the Philippine constitution guarantees free speech and expression. So written, verbal, artistic, and creative expressions both in virtual and real-world are protected unless it falls under cyber libel.
While we enjoy this freedom, it should not result in reputational, mental, physical, and material harm to another person. Our human right ends when it encroaches on someone else’s rights. Creating safe spaces is a co-responsibility of everyone
Likewise, cyber bullying can also be a consequence of one or a combination of the unlawful acts defined in the anti-cybercrime law.
Different forms of online bullying
As technology evolves, new forms will emerged. As of this writing, below are different forms of cyber bullying
This is also known as group bullying or cyber mob. Group bullying may happen after someone calls out a person for (1) actual abuse or injustice ex. abusadong professor“, (2) when a person an offending opinion, ex. Manny Pacquiao’s belief on LGBT (3) when a person spreads fake news.
- Canceling- this is akin to social bullying. It’s taking away the sense of acceptance or belongingness of a person. .
This is the creation of a false account or the hacking of the original account of the victim, and the perpetrator will use this to humiliate and attack the victim. Also known as identity theft
- Flaming – this is the use of angry, vulgar, and violent words against the victim
- Text Bullying (SMS/MMS)
This is the old school of cyberbullying but the second commonly used platform after Facebook according to this survey.
- Dark Social – similar to text bullying, but this one uses messaging/ chat apps
- Creative Bullying
This form uses creative arts and deep fakes to inflict damage to the victim, these are the use of “fan pages” as “hate pages”, altered images, e posters, and videos.
- Outing (social engineering)
This form is meant to manipulate the victim to willingly divulge embarrassing information or do something embarrassing. These will now be used to harass and embarrass the victim
This is a special form of cyberbullying because the victims are teachers and perpetrators are students. The students use the same tactic as outing, setting up the teacher to “snap” and record the whole thing to make fun of their teachers on social media.
Suicide and cyber bullying
It was reported that there was an increase in suicides and they are attributing it to bullying, Although there certainly is a connection between the two, the research highlights the complexity of the relationship.
What to do if you are at the receiving end of online bullying
Always inform somebody when you are being cyberbullied, harassed, stalked, or mobbed
- As a minor, tell your parents or guardian. It is best to share this also to your class adviser or the school’s guidance office. Parents, it’s best to inform the principal about the incident. As required by law, schools thru the Principal or his/her designate should conduct an investigation.
- As an adult, tell someone you trust, and if harassment is work-related, it is wise to give your HR a heads-up. If you’re experiencing workplace bullying, here’s what you can do
Always keep a copy and screenshot of the hate messages, degrading images, and/or videos using a browser where the URL is visible
- Do not delete text messages, emails, tweets, and PMs/DMs.
- Always take a screenshot of the Facebook, Twitter, and other social network’s timeline
- Download a copy of degrading images or videos to be kept as evidence
Block the accounts of the people who are harassing you.
- Parents, do this immediately and have your kids take an online vacation
- For adult victims, do this if the attacks are affecting you already but ask someone to monitor the accounts of the bully.
- If you can, take an online vacation. Use different CP numbers when necessary, but ask someone to monitor the SMS in your original number.
When cyberbullied in social media, report the account, offending posts, photos, and videos to service providers
- For Facebook abuses, if you do not have an account, report HERE
- If you have a Facebook account and you wish to report harassment/bullying follow this GUIDELINES
- For Twitter abuses, report HERE
- For Instagram, go HERE.
- For Snapchat, go HERE.
- For TikTok, go HERE.
If both the cyberbullied and offender are minor
- *Bully is from the same school – report to the child protection committee or the guidance counselor
- *Bully is from another school – report to the offenders’ school
- **Bully is out of school youth – bring the matter to the barangay where the offender is residing
* the school will determine if aside from an administrative sanction, there is a need to file criminal charges. If parents are not happy with handling, they can escalate the incident to Dep Ed.
** if there is no resolution at the barangay level, they can proceed to the Women and Child Protection Desk of the PNP or DSWD
For more discussion on school bullying, please go to “Protecting Filipino children from bullying”.
Applicable laws on cyber bullying
For minors, aside from RA 10627, or the anti-bullying act of 2013, “Republic Act 7610 also known as Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act” can also be used.
ARTICLE VI- Other Acts of Abuse
Section 10. Other Acts of Neglect, Abuse, Cruelty or Exploitation and Other Conditions Prejudicial to the Child’s Development. –
(a) Any person who shall commit any other acts of child abuse, cruelty, or exploitation or to be responsible for other conditions prejudicial to the child’s development including those covered by Article 59 of Presidential Decree No. 603, as amended, but not covered by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, shall suffer the penalty of prison mayor in its minimum period.
For adults, provisions of RA 10175 or the cybercrime law can apply. As mentioned in our opening paragraph, online libel, identity theft, and illegal access to online accounts.
The Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009 or RA 9995 also applies. This, if the perpetrators use intimate personal images and videos to blackmail, extort or harass the victims.
For “non-cyber” harassment offenses, I wrote an exhaustive list of discrimination laws, rulings, and regulations so if there is a need to go the legal route, we will be guided.
Reporting incidence of cyber bullying when adults are involved
- Go to the nearest Women and Children’s Protection Desk of PNP
- Alternately, you can file an online report here.
- Or visit either the PNP Cybercrime Unit at Camp Crame or the NBI Cybercrime Unit at Taft Ave
- According to this news report, you can contact the National Bureau of Investigation at [email protected] or call 028521-9208, local extensions 3429 (Chief) and 3497 (Staff).
Seek financial damages, when applicable
According to Atty. Cyndy P. Dela Cruz.
A person who is aggrieved by a defamatory post in social media may find refuge in the provisions of the Civil Code on Damages (Art. 2176, Civil Code)
Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this chapter.”
One who posts on social media, causing damage to the reputation of another may be liable to the subject for damages and this can be a valid cause of action under the law.
Such posts must tend to pry to the privacy and peace of mind of another, meddle or disturb the private life or family relations of another, intrigue to cause another to be alienated from his friends or vex or humiliate another on account of his religious beliefs, lowly station in life, place of birth, physical defect or other personal condition. (violating Art. 26, of the Civil Code) emphasis mine
Schools and Companies, for support purposes, should have a ; and cyber wellness program. The policy should define safe spaces and the responsibility of each. Likewise, a mental wellness program should be in place to support everyone.