white black legal international law journal ISSN: 2581-8503

Peer-Reviewed Journal | Indexed at Manupatra, HeinOnline, Google Scholar & ROAD



Authored By- Yashwanth A S


Y17J Cyber security and management consultant LLP

Email: y17jcsmc@gmail.com




Bullying implies an intention to harm, intimidate or coerce an act when there's an imbalance of power and therefore the act could be a cause for distress and provocation. Bullying is also verbal, physical, or mental in nature and a full spectrum of acts can constitute bullying.

The pandemic has been a difficult time for everybody round the globe. People faced various problems from lack of healthcare facilities, lockdown frustration, and isolation, losing jobs and business income, to losing their loved ones to the present deadly virus. The COVID-19 virus has been proved to be a disaster causing innumerable deaths, mental, physical, and emotional agony to innumerable people round the globe.

The pandemic has not only removed the lives of several people but has been a period of distress for several those that lost their jobs or had to stop working their businesses because of lockdown, for folks that lost the sole one who was capable of earning within the family, for kids who lost both of their parents at such a fragile age, and plenty of more.

While men and adults were also scum to varied cybercrimes, women, and kids, being one in all the foremost vulnerable parts of society, became the straightforward targets of cybercrime offenders during the pandemic. Women, especially housewives and who are liable to social media users are exposed to such crimes during the pandemic. Women have also been the victims of force and abuse during the amount of lockdown.

Vulnerability rose with internet use: 22.4% of respondents, aged 13-18 years, who used the net for extended than three hours each day were at risk of online bullying, while up to twenty-eight of respondents, who used the net for quite four hours each day, faced cyberbullying, concluded the study titled Online Study and Internet Addiction, released on February 18 2021. Children, especially people who are either abandoned thanks to the loss of both of their parents to the COVID-19 virus or who are temporarily separated from their parents because either of them has caught the disease are the foremost vulnerable and simple targets to those cybercrimes.

Where the fogeys are hospitalized and youngsters are kept under others’ care or are uncared for, such children are more susceptible to cyber abuse because there's nobody to appear after their online activities. Children are spending longer on virtual platforms thanks to the closing of faculties amid the COVID-19 pandemic which has exposed them to the chance of online harassment and cyberbullying.


During the lockdown and thanks to the closure of the faculties, parents had to depend on technology and digital solutions to stay their children learning, entertained, and connected to the surface world. Children are spending longer online for various entertainment, social and academic purposes. But all children don't have the mandatory knowledge and resources to stay themselves safe and secure within the online world. Children are more vulnerable after they are kept aloof from their parents or when there's nobody to appear after them. The pandemic has made matters even more vulnerable for youngsters because they're helplessly exposed to the net world for his or her educational purposes.

Most of the kids, especially those belonging to Grade 1 to Grade 5, are very less conversant in technology and internet use, and ethics. Therefore, it becomes very easy for sexual predators and other cybercrime offenders to hack the devices of those children and manipulate them. A toddler doesn't know whether the actual website is safe to go to or not, or whether a specific image/video should be downloaded or not and hence, gets easily manipulated to loves immoral activities and become easy targets of the cybercrime offenders.


Cybercrimes Against Women:

During the pandemic and lockdown, people had to switch to the internet world for educational, entertainment, occupational, and social purposes. Working women started to work from home with the use of laptops, mobile phones, and the internet. Women who are still completing their education had to switch to the internet for virtual classes and other educational purposes.

As most of the women were engaged on social media websites and on one or the other online platforms to carry out their educational, occupational, and entertainment purposes, the rate of cybercrimes against women started to increase during this period.


As the entire nation was under strict lockdown, it became difficult for the offenders to make a physical attack on the victim, and therefore, they began to mentally and emotionally harass people.


The most common cybercrimes that women encountered last year are as follows: 


It included connecting or trying to connect with the victim on social media or phone calls despite clear indication of disinterest from her end, posting messages (sometimes threatening) on the profile of the victim, constantly bombarding the victim with emails/text messages/phone calls, etc. 



This is the most common cybercrime committed against women during the period of the pandemic. The offenders started extorting money or sexual favors by blackmailing the victims to reveal their private pictures or morphed images. The pandemic and lockdown frustration made the offenders seek sexual video calls/images or messages from women by threatening them. Also, loss of income encouraged them to extort money by threatening the victim with their morphed images.


Cyber Hacking:

During the lockdown, people started to read news online. There was a rise in cases of fake news and information. The women started becoming the victim of cyber hacking by clicking on malware links which get all their information available on phone, turns on the camera and microphone, and captures their intimate pictures and videos. Offenders, in turn, use these pieces of information and pictures for sextortion and other favours.



This included publishing defamatory and abusive statements against the victim on social media platforms and demanding money for deleting them, insensitive comments on the posts of the victim, exchanging morphed images/private images of the victim without her consent, sending rape threats to the victim, etc. 



To make money in lockdown, offenders are sending fake emails with a link to a particular webpage to induce the victim to unwittingly enter personal data like bank account details, contact details, and passwords or with the intention to install harmful viruses in the victim’s device as soon as they open the link.


These emails and messages appear to have come from legitimate sources. The offenders then make fraudulent transactions from the victim’s account to their account with the use of the bank account and other personal details of the victim.


Sexually Abusive And

Pornographic Content:

During the pandemic, offenders were also indulged in sexual abuse of women on the internet, morphing the picture of the victim and using it for the purpose of pornography.


Cybersex Trafficking:

Unlike sex trafficking, the victim does not come in direct contact with the abuser. In cybersex trafficking, the dealer live-streams, films, or photos of the victim performing sexual/intimate acts from a central location and sells the material online to sexual predators and buyers. The offenders have been sexually abusing women by making them a part of cybersex trafficking byways of coercion, manipulation, and blackmailing.


Cybercrime Against Children:

While children were engaged on the internet and virtual platform for their educational purposes, they were unaware of its dark side. The parents, teachers, and children had to helplessly rely on these virtual platforms for fulfilling the educational needs of the children but at the same time, children were being exposed to cybercrime offenders being the easy targets to manipulate and harass.

Some of the most common cybercrimes committed against children during the pandemic while they were engaged in educational and entertainment activities are as follows:


Sexual Abuse of Children:

This includes child sexual abuse materials such as child pornographic images and videos, online sexual exploitation of children over phone call/video call where children are coerced into performing sexual acts. 


Pornographic/Sexually Explicit Content for Children:

While using the internet for education and entertainment purposes or going through a social media page, children are being induced to open certain websites which direct them to sexually explicit content and pornographic videos/images. This corrupts the mentality of the child but the offender gets views and money. 

Cybersex Trafficking:

Unlike sex trafficking, the victim does not come in direct contact with the abuser. In cybersex trafficking, the dealer live-streams, films, or photos of the victim performing sexual/intimate acts from a central location and sells the material online to sexual predators and buyers. The offenders have been sexually abusing children by making them a part of cybersex trafficking byways of manipulation and coercion.


Cyber Bullying:

This includes harsh, mean, abusive, or cruel comments and messages against the child victim. Children are easy to bully because of their innocent nature and it becomes even much easier for the offenders to bully children on virtual platforms.


Cyberbullying causes; avoiding school classes via virtual platforms, suddenly wanting to stop using the internet and computer devices, being secretive about their digital life, distress, and emotional instability among children.


Child Grooming:

The offender befriends the child victim by forming an emotional and fiduciary bond with him/her with the objective of sexual abuse of the child. The children tend to trust easily and hence, it becomes very much easy for the offenders to create such a bond with them. Once the bond is created, the offender starts manipulating the child to perform sexual acts.


Child grooming via online platforms and social media has been one of the most committed cybercrimes during the pandemic. Child groomers were able to operate and gain children’s trust online and it became easy for them to do so because of the unawareness of children and parents about the dark side of the internet world. 


Above mentioned are some of the infamous cyber-crimes committed against children during the pandemic. The children and parents of such children have been becoming victims of such crimes. This tells us about the need to educate children as well as parents about the cyber world and how they can protect themselves from cybercrime offenders.


What can be done?

Cybercrime complaint registration in the following ways:

  • Online Cyber Crime complaint (National Cybercrime Reporting Portal),
  • Offline Cyber Crime complaint (Cyber Crime Cell)
  • FIR (Local Police station)
  • Reporting online website for Cybercrimes: www.cybercrime.gov.in


Legal Provisions under Various Laws:

Although a comprehensive regulatory framework with regard to laws governing the cyber space, particularly such acts is yet to be framed, there exists certain legal provisions under various Statutes which can come in aid of a person who is a victim of cyber violence.

  1. The Indian Penal Code, 1860

Prior to 2013, no law directly dealing with online harassment or crimes pertaining to women in the cyber space. The 2013 Criminal Amendment Act to the Indian Penal Code, 1860 by way of Section 354A to Section 354D


  1. The Information Technology Act, 2000 as amended by the Information Technology  Act, 2008

Section 66C of the IT Act makes identity theft a punishable offence. Instances of cyber hacking would be covered by this provision. Under this provision, whoever, fraudulently or dishonestly make use of the electronic signature, password or any other unique identification feature of any other person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to rupees one lakh.

 Section 66E of the IT Act deals with the violation of the privacy of a person. Capturing, publishing or transmitting the image of a private area of any person without her consent, under circumstances violating her privacy, is punishable with imprisonment, which may extend to three years, and/or fine.

 Section 67 prohibits, and punishes with imprisonment extending up to three years and fine for first conviction and to five years and fine upon second conviction, the publication, transmission and causing of transmission of obscene content. Obscene content has been defined in the same manner as in Section 292 of IPC, and therefore the test of obscenity is to be the same as under that provision.

 Section 67A makes the publication, transmission or causing of transmission of sexually explicit material punishable with imprisonment extending up to five years and fine for first conviction and to seven years and fine upon second conviction.

 Section 67B makes publication/transmission of sexually explicit content depicting children punishable.

  1. Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Bill, 2012

The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act regulates and prohibits the indecent representation of women through the media of advertisements, publications etc. The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2012 seeks to broaden the scope of the law to cover the audio-visual media and content in electronic form, and distribution of material will also include distribution on the Internet and the portrayal of women over the web.



During the period of the pandemic, many women and children have become the victim of various cybercrimes. The rate of cybercrime increased unbelievably during the lockdown in India. A total number of 704 cybercrimes against women were registered in 2020 and 504 in 2021 (till July). The data provided above is evidence of the fact that the lockdown and pandemic frustration made the offenders commit such crimes aggressively.


The most common cybercrimes committed against women during the pandemic are Cyber Stalking, Sextortion, Cyber Hacking, Cyber Bullying, Sexual Abuse (including sexually explicit and pornographic content against the victim), Cybersex Trafficking, and Phishing. The most common cybercrimes committed against children during the pandemic are Sexual Abuse of Children, Cybersex Trafficking, Cyber Bullying, Child Grooming, etc. Women and children are the most vulnerable parts of society and hence, became easy targets of cybercrime offenders and sexual predators during the lockdown.


To fight these cybercrimes committed against women and children, the Indian legal system provides various laws. The first and the foremost step of a victim should be to register the cybercrime complaint in the nearest cybercrime cell or on the National Cybercrime Reporting portal, or in case of no access to any of these platforms the victim can register an FIR in the local police station.

The provisions of Information Technology Act, 2000, Indian Penal Code, 1860, Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 prohibits the above-mentioned cybercrimes against women and children and also punishes the offender with strict punishments of imprisonment and fine.



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