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How Belgium Deals With Cyber-bullying

Cyber-bullying is often defined as an “extended version to traditional bullying” but the problem with this proposition is that even though it is successful in matching the intent as of normal bully but is completely ignorant of the rampant impact it may have due to its potentially widespread audience. Cyber-bullying is bullying through the use of technological devices and social media platforms. It may include disseminating lies and private pictures or abusing sentiments with scathing remarks or negative social engineering tactics. Belgium addresses this as a grave societal problem affecting the cognitive state of contemporary youth. However, the nation is diligent on deriving what really constitutes a criminal offense as it would be prejudiced to put a blanket statement on every cyberbully as criminal. Belgium firmly believes, to curb cyberbully effectively a better integrated approach is the necessity involving higher cooperation both at national level and global level by maintaining better international procedures with regards to digital traces and expansion of cyber police cohort.

Belgium considers cyberbullying as a threat to digitally integrated global society. Even though, not all cyberbully are criminal but still some acts qualify themselves to be “criminal offenses”. Belgium effectively addresses such activities through criminal laws such as Article 422bis for Stalking, Article 550bis addresses Hacking and Article 210bis for Informatica fraud. Constitutionally countering such activities, the nation also puts a lot of emphasis on the role of police. Belgium has set up a Federal Computer Crime Unit(FCCU) which works in close relationship with Regional Computer Crime Unit(RCCU). The main objectives of these units is to provide assistance in internet investigation, espionage, hacking , investigating victim’s computer. The FCCU also provides online infrastructure to file complaints. Belgium celebrates Safer Internet Day(SID) in the best possible way; the Belgian Safer Internet Centre developed a ready-to-use activity on cyber-bullying, her majesty the queen addressed the issue of cyber-bullying, and every year on this day workshop called “Internet Safe & Fun” is organized which aims to teach pupils safe internet literacy skills.

The first step to solve any problem is to recognize the one. Cyber-bullying has been addressed as a problem across august platforms globally. Cyber-bullying was addressed by the UNGA in its resolution 69/158. UNESCO has declared the first Thursday of November of every year as an International Day against violence and bullying at school including cyber-bullying because as per UNESCO’s report almost one in three students has been bullied by their peers at school and most students who are victims of cyber-bullying have been bullied in school first. UNICEF has provided a detailed analysis on their official site on how to be aware, recognize and combat cyberbully. The United Nations protects children through numerous laws across the globe. Article 37(a) of the convention on the rights of a child holds that “no child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel inhuman or degrading treatment”. Cyber-bullying violates children’s right to non discrimination (Article 2), freedom of expression (Article 13) and privacy (Article 16). Child-net international provides a guidance for schools on how to understand, prevent and respond to cyber-bullying.

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