Feature Article

Free eNews Subscription>>
August 25, 2015

Back to School with STOPit, the Anonymous Anti-Bully App

With the coming of September comes fall, and the universal restart date for the kids to go back to school. And with school all too often comes bullying, and STOPit looks to give kids a hand in quietly reporting—and hopefully stopping—bullying.

STOPit development was largely credited to the case of Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old girl who committed suicide after creating a YouTube video involving a series of flash cards detailing her story of online and offline bullying alike over a period of several years. With over 10 million views to its credit, the video often serves as a kind of starting point for discussions of bullying. STOPit’s creator, Todd Schobel, heard Amanda Todd's story on his car radio, and thus developed the app now found in 78 schools in 13 states, with plans to expand outward to include college campuses and workplaces as well.

Bullying has changed with the growth of the Internet, no longer lurking in back alleys or waiting for someone after school, but rather going to Facebook or anywhere else where large groups gather. That's part of what STOPit looks to address, as more schools are being held responsible for not getting involved. STOPit provides a means to not only record an incident, but also report it, establishing the needed paper trail to provide schools with the tools to intervene. This is also true even if the bullying takes place online, off school grounds and off school computers. Schools pay $2 to $5 per student per year to get in on STOPit, and students can download the app using the school’s identification code. Then screenshots can be taken of cyberbullying in progress, which are anonymously routed to officials, thus preventing issues of reprisal.

Sounds great, but it's not without some issues in its own right. For example, how many false reports will there be as a result of this? How many bullies will actually use this tool as a way to flip the blame on the victim? What kind of burden of proof is required; anyone can sign on to any platform with a little creative login naming; anyone who's read “Ender's Game” knows how Ender once convinced a system he was God.

The idea is a sound one, but the execution may not be in order. We'd all like a world without bullies, and people trying to feel better at the expense of others. But depending on the hand of an anonymous and therefore easily manipulated app like STOPit doesn't seem like the way to go about it. It might help, on some level, but in the end, it’s only a small step in a long journey. We need to instill bullies everywhere with a proper sense of right and wrong, not a sense that someone is watching.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

FOLLOW MobilityTechzone

Subscribe to MobilityTechzone eNews

MobilityTechzone eNews delivers the latest news impacting technology in the Wireless industry each week. Sign up to receive FREE breaking news today!
FREE eNewsletter