Image by Thomas Ulrich from Pixabay 

Our world is on the way to recovering from a two-year-long pandemic. The whole world was locked inside their respective houses. Millions of people around the world lost their lives and those who were lucky enough came out safely from this pandemic. Schools shifted their classrooms to online platforms, workplaces chose Google Meet and Zoom applications as their temporary office rooms and that is when people first experienced ‘online classroom’ and ‘work from home’. Teenagers got smartphones and laptops with a better internet connection but without a proper knowledge of how to use it in the right manner. Social media platforms are designed in ways to be attractive but it can leave quite a negative impact on the society as a whole.

According to a survey it has been recorded that social media usage during the pandemic has seen a hike, especially among children and teenagers. According to a 2021 survey conducted by a German company specialized in market and consumer data, Statista, Facebook is the most used application followed by YouTube on second and WhatsApp on third. The sudden increase in the use of social media can be a consequence of trying to avoid social isolation and the feeling of loneliness. People used social media not only for entertainment purposes but also to gather current information about the world. Everyday we come to know about many incidents on social media that although are not covered by the news but are important. Nowadays social media provides an opportunity to people to show their talents, expand their business and know about new people and their cultures and traditions from all around the world. But everything having a positive side will have a negative side also. In the case of social media the negativity it spreads is quite more than the positivity. The news feed of apps like Facebook has become a platform where people are doing whatever they feel like to do. People roast others, make fun of others, openly insult others and term them as ‘pranks’. It is true that some videos make people laugh genuinely but some other videos create a controversy dividing the audience into two groups, one group is of the supporters and the other group is of opposers. People are becoming so indulged in their social life that it is affecting them in reality. The controversies no longer remain limited to online platforms but are creating riots in real life. In platforms like Instagram, promoting nudity and vulgarity in the name of modeling has become a new trend and surprisingly they get more supporters than people who are genuinely trying to present their talents. In this lockdown many have seen videos which weren’t supposed to be for the general public at all. Cyber crimes, cyber bullying etcetera have become the most common scenario in the field of crime. Earlier when limited people had access to social media it was safe to share one’s lifestyle online. But in recent days when the audience is huge it is no longer safe to even post a nice picture of someone. People are busy creating new trends everyday or every week and those who are do not show any interest in following the trends are being termed as ‘dumb’ even in real life. In some cases, parents lose track of their children’s activity online. As a result the child easily gets diverted from his track and even picks up habits that are not even meant for that age group. At some places the situation becomes the exact opposite, that is, when parents become more socially active than children. Every now and then they compare their children with other kids, increasing the competition and creating an extra mental pressure on the child. Further, spending extra time on social media can not only affect an individual but also the relationships involving that individual. It is a fact that since there is an increase in the number of internet users, crimes against humankind have also increased. According to the Internet Crime Report of 2021 by the FBI, around 847,346 cyber crimes were reported by the public. In India, cyber crime has enjoyed a hike since 2018 till date. According to the reports by Zee News 2,08,456 cyber crimes were reported in the year 2018 whereas 2,12,485 cases were reported only during the first two months of 2022. We are living in a generation where almost half of the population is still far away from the internet world. So, they become an easy target for the scammers.

There are many ways through which cyber crimes are conducted. The first one being child pornography or Child Sexually Abusive Material (CSAM). Some days while surfing through our phones we come across some unnecessary links that lead us to a page or website containing some adult contents and some of the times children being sexually exploited can be seen in those videos. According to the Section 67B, punishment for publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in sexually explicit act in electronic form is provided. Strict punishments are also provided under Section 13 and Section 15 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) for child pornography. The second type of crime is online job fraud. While scrolling through google or facebook or any other social media platform , one may come across advertisements claiming to offer jobs in various sectors. Firstly they claim to do it for free but at a certain stage they charge money and once the money is provided, they completely disappear. Sometimes they also force the applicants into something illegal. The third and most common type of cybercrime is online sextortion. This is the crime that is most common in today’s youths. Here someone threatens somebody to distribute private materials all over social media if that person denies to provide something of sexual nature or sometimes money. Another form of cybercrime is cyber bullying. Before the ballooning of internet or social media bullying was only limited between a group and it was enough to give the victim a trauma. Taking the bullying to an online platform has not only increased its intensity but also led the sufferings of the victim from bad to worse. They now find it difficult to spend some relaxed time both offline and online. Nowadays another method of crime is making it to the columns of newspapers. Some people make it a habit of following or stalking a particular person and trying to start a conversation even after getting a clear disinterest. This form of cybercrime is known as cyber stalking. It is also not new to daily internet users that sometimes their personal data is being leaked or stolen through emails that seem to have a legit source. This condition is known as phishing. There are many other cybercrimes: stealing someone else’s identity, building relationships with someone online in order to fulfill self pleasure etcetera. The motive behind each of the fraud seems to be interrelated, that is, either getting sexual pleasure or defaming someone or earning money in an easy and shortcut manner.

Social platforms are places that appear to be very attractive and interesting but not at all a safe place. Some people genuinely love to share their blogs, information and photos so that people can come closer to each other. But there are also some people who take advantage of these and make it a place to harm people in order to satisfy their own grudges and pleasures. Although social media increases controversies, competitions and crimes, it can also be very helpful if used in the right manner. It can provide us with news that fails to gain media attention. During the two year long pandemic, when all the businesses around the world suffered a huge loss , many people took their business online. This particular step not only helped them to grow their business but also provided them a global recognition. Social media platforms just like any other existing matter in this world has positive and negative side. It completely depends on the person which path to choose, which side of the social media platforms to use.           

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