Are you a Prey of Cyber Bullying?
A CLICK is all it takes to ruin someone’s life. Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook are some of the few common social media platforms to share pictures, messages, and videos. The Internet is a vast world that has made it easy for everyone to connect virtually.
The presence of these social media websites gave us the opportunity to connect with people to make friends online and exchanges pictures, messages and videos. However, sometimes specific messages, pictures or videos socially embarrass us in the virtual world, and we name it cyberbullying.
The era of technology as we say it has made it inevitable for us to ignore the technological devices used by us or most importantly by children. Indeed it has made life more accessible, yet, it poses a menace as children can easily misuse it. Some schools require children to have devices like laptops or tablets instead of books. Thus, it is pertinent for schools to understand the appropriate use of such devices and must educate children on the same. Accordingly, schools must strictly restrict children from misusing technology and engage in cyberbullying. Under the Dubai Schools Law, a school can face legal consequences if they were aware of cyberbullying activities happening and they failed to take any action. Criminal Lawyers in Dubai through this article will highlight the legalities surrounding the misusage of technology by young children and penalties that can be imposed if found guilty.
There is no specific age to access the internet, and there is no law which restricts an individual below a certain age to access the social media or the internet. However, there are certain guidelines issued by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority regarding the access of adult content. In addition, there are certain social media platforms which require a person of a certain age to access the website like Facebook only allows account where the user is above 13 years of age and parents of below age children might request for deletion of such account. These social media websites have though created rules and regulations for controlling access to underage children, however, they are not enough to legally constraint the child from having access to adult content or other unrestricted data.
Legal Protection from Cyberbullying
Any usage of electronic means to harass or embarrass a person either by sending a message to the concerned victim or his natives. It is merely bullying that has become digitalised. These social media platforms have made it easy to spread negative and hurtful information about victim leading to his/her serious breakdown. The Internet is a place when nothing ever dies; it remains there and so is content used for cyberbullying it will always remain constant.
There are enormous laws promulgated by UAE with the intention to protect the privacy and confidential information of an individual. In addition, there are laws to protect children rights such as Federal Law Number 3 of 2016 regarding UAE Child’s rights. Further, under Federal Law Number 3 of 1987 regarding the UAE Penal Code, Defamation is considered as an offence. Cyberbullying is also a kind of defamation through the usage of social media platform. However, one can also take the assistance of Federal Decree Number 5 of 2012 regarding Com-batting Cybercrime.
Comparing the provisions of Penal Code and the Cybercrime Law, it is more appropriate to seek recourse under the Cybercrime Law as the penal code does not specifically involve the content available or transmitted online through an electronic device. Article 20 of Cybercrime Law is an example of such comparison which states that anyone who commits the offence of slander whereby he insults someone by using information technology tool shall be punished with a fine not exceeding AED 500,000 and/or imprisonment. The offence is also punishable under Penal Code. However, the penal code does not define the medium used for slander as compared to cybercrime law. The punishment mentioned in the Cybercrime Law can be reduced for Juvenile in accordance with Federal Law Number 9 of 1976 concerning the Juvenile Law.
Cyberbullying can be undertaken by way of clicking pictures or making videos without the person’s consent or which is otherwise not authorized or were taken on the basis of trust and confidentiality. We have published several articles concerning the legalities concerning the images taken without consent. Severe penalties such as imprisonment or fine not exceeding AED 500,000 can also be imposed on those who use any material which considered as pornography, in accordance with Article 17 of the Cybercrime Law. The concerned provision not only punishes the use of any material it punishes all those who forward and save such data in their technological device. Further, imprisonment for one year and a fine not exceeding AED 150,000 will be imposed if the pornography material involves a woman less than the age of 18 years.
Measures to stop Cyberbullying
UAE government has provided several laws under which one can initiate legal action for any cybercrime. Cyberbullying can have a major impact on the life of the child as he or she is exposed to the social world. Any legal action against the accused can be disadvantageous for the victim as he or she may have to disclose certain information to the competent authority. UAE law has tried every bit to safeguard the interest of the child by not asking the child to attend the court, if not required.
Nevertheless, bullying is a serious issue considering it is digitalised and has no end. The material can be taken off from one device or some social media website, yet it can still be pulled out in future. Thus, Lawyers in Dubai always suggest the parents and guardians make proper constraints on the content seen by their children.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultantancy is a full-service law firm in UAE, duly licensed to perform legal services and advocacy in the United Arab Emirates with a head office in Dubai and a branch office in Abu Dhabi. Our firm serves and represents both local and expatriate companies and individual clients.