October 27, 2015
Bullying is a problem around the world. About 1 in 3 children say they’ve been bullied. While there have been strides made thanks to awareness of the problem, cyber-bullying is a growing problem which makes it harder than ever for victims. A new app adopted in schools across the U.S. is helping to make it easier to report cyber bullying.
The vast majority of bullying in America still happens in person in school. But a growing number of students are now being cyber bullied.
“What we’re finding is that cyber bullying or online harassment isn’t more common than in-person bullying and harassment, but it exacerbates because it’s an additional form that people are experiencing. So if you’re bullied in school, you are also more likely to then get it online and that exacerbates what’s already going on because you can’t get away from it,” said Joe Kosciw, the chief research and strategy officer of GLSEN.
What used to be confined to school has now become a problem without an escape. The attacks usually consist of harassing texts and the spreading of false rumors through social media.
David Brearley Middle-High School in Kenilworth, New Jersey, is trying to tackle the problem with technology. The school has adopted a new app called StopIt. Students can download it for free, take a picture of an online incident and then send it to the school as a complaint.
“Anything that’s on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, anything that gets posted out is captured and sent if someone sends it to us,” said Brian Luciani, the school’s principal. He used to get an average of seven allegations of bullying per month. Since adopting the app a year and a half ago, that number has dropped to three.
“The app really allows you to see from the start of the thread to the bottom of it. It really allows you to get to the bottom of who said what, who started what and what’s been going on between the parties,” said Brian. “The deterrence factor is very powerful in that students now understand that at any time, any place, what they’re doing can be reported to the administration, to their parents or anyone else.”
More schools are turning to technology to stop bullying. Since the app was created a few years ago, more than 100 schools across the United States have adopted it.