June 21st, 2012
06:00 AM ET

High school students develop app to fight bullying

Students at a Connecticut high school developed an app they hope will curb bullying, CNN affiliate WTIC reported. Users can use the app to report bullying they've experienced, even as a witness. The information is anonymous, but goes to administrators, who can look for common threads and patterns in what's reported. The app was designed by students at Metropolitan Business Academy in New Haven, Connecticut, who said they saw it as a way for kids to help other kids.

Share in the comments: Do you think an anonymous app is a good way to report bullying? Would you want your kids or their school administrators to use it?

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Filed under: Bullying • Issues • Technology
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Paul

    Annonymous reporting reduces anxiety to report true, but the accuracy of knowing who was involved and having the proof of what was said is what administrators need to act. There is another app available on the android market that collects the proof and makes getting it to someone who can help easy. It makes sense to use both...one to report and the second to use if asked for the proof. It's called parentingpride. It saves and protects all texts and photos from being manipulated by the account holder otherwise people can invent and delete texts to change a report.

    July 3, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  2. Robert

    I agree that it is a great idea, however, it is not an original idea. Safe School Technologies developed and marketed this product over a year ago. Look on their site www safeschooltech dot com

    Students can not escape bullying when they leave school, with the increase in smartphones and social media at an early age. These apps allow students to report incidents, and get them the help they need.

    June 22, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  3. trevorjerue

    Reblogged this on  and commented:
    Great article. Good idea for an app!

    June 22, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    If you're using this app to complain how you don't want to be at school because "it's too early," then you aren't even using the app as it was intended. Those who receive these alerts would throw them out if they don't have to do with bullying. Flood the system? You're not dealing with hackers here, these are kids. What are they going to say, "Person X was being mean to me" a million times to distract attention from themselves? Adults aren't stupid. Administrators already have a good idea who the troublemakers are. The idea is for students to help EACH OTHER. Maybe you should give it a chance to work instead of making of hypothetical situations for why it won't. Be optimistic.

    June 22, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  5. Taylor

    So a kid reports someone for bullying them, supposedly anonymously. Well lets say the person who is doing the bullying is only bullying one kid. So much for being anonymous. The bully gets in trouble and knows exactly who reported him. The kid who thought he was reporting anonymously is no longer anonymous. Way to think it through. The idea was there but the anonymous part just isn't working for me. Secondly, when were kids allowed to pull out a cellphone in school?

    June 22, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • poopsmear

      This relies on the premise that only kids who are bullied would report. When in fact there would be a large number of witnesses who would be more than willing to report if it's anonymous. The bully couldn't know who reported him, even if he was only picking on one person. If the bully is caught, and then has the ability to proceed and make the kids life worse, then the failing isn't in the reporting app, but in the school for letting a bully go back to his routines.
      Also, whether or not kids are aloud phones is something each individual school decides. there are many schools that encourage the use of mobile devices as a way to control, as well as use tablets as learning devices.

      June 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Nikkii

      Hi Taylor, Those are good points but there are ways around the first one. A teen doesn't have to report the bullying incident in the moment. They can do it after school or at 2 am. I should hope the app isn't time sensitive.

      But the point about the repercussions to the victim is real as well and not so easy to solve. The success of the app is not based on the kids reporting but how well the school responds. If teens see that bullying intensifies for the victims no matter how much promotion is done they are not going to use it. So in an ideal world a kid reports and a real long term intervention is put into place to help both parties versus a quick slap on the wrist, but alas we don't live in an ideal world.

      June 24, 2012 at 6:57 am |
  6. bob

    some kids need to be slapped arround

    June 22, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  7. Mike

    All schools nation wide needs to do this, or provide a system to report bullying. Bullying is really against the law. But it is also the parents responsibility to take the time and ask those questions and care for your child. That means turn the tv off and just talk. They could have problems like that at school and you wouldn't even know. Dont wait until its to late. That school, or the local hospital will call you and let you know that your kid is in critical condition because you didn't take care of your kid right and dealt with the problem because you was to busy watching tv or doing something that wasn't important. It's your call, if you care, then listen and reach out to your kid. That is the way it is and going to be if you love your kid.

    June 22, 2012 at 5:48 am |
  8. Anonymous

    sounds good until the kid who is trying to use the app gets his phone taken away for the day/week whatever the school's policy is either way they also have to have to have a smart phone while their parents might not give them one.....
    Either way with any system it can be abused but until it is implemented we won't know how well it will work....

    June 22, 2012 at 2:52 am |
    • Taylor

      Really, kids need an app to report bullying? What happened to going to the principal and telling them I'm being bullied. Reporting the bullying through the app anonymously isn't really doing it anonymously. If the person who is bullying only one kid in the school, and that kid reports it through the app anonymously, the kid who is bullying will get in trouble and know exactly who told on him. That is only going to make it worse for the kid who reported it. Secondly since when were kids allowed to use smart phones in school?

      June 22, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  9. Brendon Léon

    I can understand how some might be concerned about the misuse of this application and how it may spiral into a gateway for bullies themselves to harass the staff. However, I think that in order to use the application, students must submit school-collect information (ID number, name, date of birth, etc.) to properly identify themselves as a student at the school before access is allowed into the app. After submitting more than ten anonymous reports, the student information is submitted automatically when the bully report is sent. This aids in preventing the system to be misused as well as gives the staff a direct means of contacting the student if they are reaching out and are in serious need of aid. Also, it would be wise to include hotline numbers directly within the app for child abuse, neglect, and suicide hotlines if students would need an ally for a friend to talk to. Even a chat with counselors and life coaches would be a great implementation.

    June 22, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  10. easybreezy

    sounds a reason to need to bring a phone to school...

    June 21, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  11. Florida Joyce

    Hmmm. Seems like a bully-reporting app would be a wonderful thing - when used as intended (think guns, automobiles ...). But, any run-of-the-mill narcissist routinely convinces worshipers to collude with him/her on any number of adventures. We know this happens and will continue to happen.

    Narcissists/sociopaths will quickly identify the usefulness of an anonymous bully-reporter in plopping hapless victims (targeted peers right along with the administrators who receive and analyze the data) smack into a loads-of-fun deception. Most of the app's designers and consumers bear the burden of having a conscience; but, you can be sure the classroom narcissist/sociopath comes with no such safeguards in place.

    A tool designed to impede and/or identify bullies has all of the potential to enable them.

    June 21, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Anonymous

      When did you even go to school? This is no way more enabling than you yourself writing some "narcissistic" comment about the nature of school bullying. I think this is a phenomenal idea and, speaking as a Computer Science graduate, has legitimate grounds for research and application. Secondly, who would actually use a bully app to report guns? I think that cell phones also make phone calls last time I checked. Call the police. What kinds of "usefulness" could a narcissist get if they did find out they were indeed a targeted bully. I don't know, maybe stop bullying? It seems you have quite a one-sided story about bullying / resentment towards the topic and just wanted you to know when you post half-baked comments on the internet, people respond.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
      • Chad

        They didn't say anything about using the app to report guns. They were talking about the usefulness of a tool based on who is using a tool. To elaborate on what I think they were trying to say with their comment: Imagine a charismatic sociopath that has a large group of friends/followers. This leader bullies a particular classmate, and, to add insult to injury, they convince their friends to accuse the targeted classmate of bullying using this app. So the classmate not only gets bullied, but also is treated by faculty AS a bully. Also, your status as a Computer Science graduate gives you as much credentials for commentary on this app as a degree in Rocket Science would give you credentials to comment on military strategy.

        June 22, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Anonymous

      I can attest to the fact that this will be heavily abused. Having just graduated High School, I can assure you that having the complaints come in anonymously will lead to many problems. Personally, I didn't enjoy having to get up so early to go to school, so I think every morning I'd send the administrators a "polite" message reminding them I didn't want to be here. A bully could EASILY flood the system to throw off a trail. Decent idea, will not work.

      June 21, 2012 at 11:04 pm |