Ajilted lover in Guwahati recently took to the popular instant messaging app WhatsApp to make a fil, desperate appeal to his girlfriend. He then took his own life, but not before dispatching his suicide message for everyone in his friends list to see. His intention was clear — to brand the girl publicly and therefore permanently with the burden of guilt for ‘driving him to death’ by rejecting his love. Then there was the suicide last week of a girl studying at a college in lbari. She seemed to have good potential, having scored well with a high first division in her higher secondary exam a year back. But all that promise came to ught, after her boyfriend’s betrayal left the heartbroken girl with no desire at all to live. Her humiliation had become unbearable as the perfidious boyfriend had uploaded their intimate photos on Facebook. Such incidents reveal the extent to which social media has become a mece, particularly for impressioble youths. Sexual indiscretions photographed or filmed secretly, then used for blackmail with the threat to upload these images on Internet — has become a distressing pattern, a cyber crime that has caused many suicides. There have been instances galore in the State of miscreants forcibly disrobing or molesting girls and arranging for the photos to be taken with intention to blackmail. So whether it is a irresponsible, mischievous or vengeful lover, or a hardened cyber crimil — the use of social media and the Internet to blackmail, must be treated as a serious offence. The government must send out a strong message, that such cyber crimes will be treated very seriously. Law enforcement agencies must be geared up to enforce cyber laws, as well as pursue offenders and bring them to book. There is also the need for helplines and counselors to advise youngsters trapped by cyber blackmailers, and how to deal with the fallout of their embarrassing images going viral over the Net. But above all, Netizens in general and social media users in particular, need to appreciate the risks while negotiating the cyber world. There are crimils stalking chat rooms, terrorists giving lessons in bomb-making, rumor-mongers orchestrating mob violence, child pornographers soliciting clients, websites detailing effective methods to commit suicide and all kinds of dangerous characters. Even otherwise, social media users have to deal with cyber bullying and pressure of negative opinions on a daily basis. There is a real world we are all born into, where we must work and live purposefully. And there is a cyber world we must learn to use intelligently for our convenience, instead of allowing it to domite our lives and make living impossible in the real world.
food for thought