ISLAMABAD: Legal and information technology experts urged parents on Saturday to play a proactive role in fighting against the rising trend of cyber-bullying. “The Prevention of Electronic Bill, approved by the Parliament in 2016, to stop cyber-bullying is not producing desired goals either due to lack of awareness or lengthy turn around procedure for which every stakeholder has to play an effective role. This hypersensitive issue involves respect and prestige of a family and requires to be handled delicately,” Nayyab Gardezi, the former Islamabad High Court Bar president said. He also urged authorities to ensure more awareness on social media about Cyber Law to reach every vulnerable to prevent them from e-stalking. He said these cases must be taken up separately like family courts and privacy and protection of the victim and his/her family must be assured to establish trust on the law and law enforcers to purge society from this scourge of e-stalking. Ayyaz, an IT analyst at Baker Hughes, said that underage segment was more vulnerable to be exploited for their lack of knowledge. “The parents’ role is more important to check their children’s activities while using Internet,” he added. “Effective filters must be applied to the electronic gadgets, connected to the internet,” he said. “The victims go through some serious mental agony and are traumatised and this tensed situation could have grave repercussions for the affected persons,” Sundus, a psychiatrist at Special Education Department said. She also gave example of a student Naila Rind of Sindh University, who could not face this menace and allegedly committed suicide. The psychiatrist also stressed the need to create more awareness among Internet users and government institutions must establish environment of trust so that such cases be referred with full confidence and desired results be achieved. A senior official at the National Response Centre for Cyber Crime said that some 9,075 cases had been registered under the Prevention of Electronic Crime Act (PECA) in 2016. “Over 70 percent cases are related to women,” he said. The complainant, he said, is provided legal counselling and assured protection of privacy by the centre. He admitted that the number of cases reported were less than the actual incidents of cyber stalking due to fear of defamation of victim’s family for its publicity in the trial court and beyond. “When a case is referred to court after conducting the inquiry to convict the accused, the victim and her family are at the mercy of the media as the Response Cell’s role ends there,” he added. Harassment and defamation cases are mostly related to women, who are reluctant to report the incidents either due to lack of awareness or due to mistrust on law enforcement agencies. The official disclosed that some 4,857 cases of cyber-bullying had so far been reported in 2017. Raising awareness among the masses is Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s (PTA) responsibility. “However, people are advised by the cell not to post their family pictures and personal data on the social media,” he added. He also advised people not to add strangers to contacts to avoid any malpractice or blackmailing. Published in Daily Times, September 24th 2017.