Click Chick's Mobile App of the Week: STOP!TSTOPit just launched in Hawaii this week, and is an anti-cyberbullying app (designed for students) that allows victims and witnesses of cyberbullying to anonymously report incidents directly to school officials and parents.
My alma mater, Hawaii Baptist Academy, is the first school in Hawaii to implement this STOPit app for its seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade students (about 330 students). So far, more than 100 schools across the U.S. have signed on.
I asked Todd Schobel, founder and CEO of STOPit, what inspired him to create this app, and he says he was driving to work one day and heard the story of Canadian teen Amanda Todd. She killed herself at age 15 after being bullied and physically assaulted by her classmates at school. As a dad himself, Schobel was touched by Amanda's story and did not want this extreme bullying to happen to others. Some schools that have implemented STOPit report up to 60 percent reduction in incidents.
STOPit's key technology is DOCUMENTit, a cloud-based incident management system for school administrators. Its one-touch reporting empowers school administrators to "deactivate" users for malicious or fictitious reports, and empowers students to take a photo or video of offensive material and forward it. The school pays for the service (ranges from a nominal $1 to $3 per student, per year), and students and schools benefit.
Just to give you an idea what a serious problem this is, according to the iSafe Foundation, at least 52 percent of teens have been bullied online, and 35 percent of children actually have been threatened online (some more than once). Additionally, DoSomething.org suggests that 90 percent of children in grades 4 through 8 have been bullied at some point. The app allows for two-way anonymous communication and supports push notifications of text and videos, making it possible to be an "upstander" instead of a bystander.
The bottom line is Schobel hopes the app will help catch bullying before students get seriously hurt -- or hurt themselves, as Amanda did.