Cyberbullying is a serious problem. Seventy percent of students report seeing bullying online, one in four admit to being cyberbullied more than once and 81 percent of youth think it’s easier to get away with bullying online than in person. To help take a stand against cyberbullying, Todd Schobel created an app called STOPit that allows students to anonymously report acts of online bullying.
“STOPit is an award-winning technology company providing a comprehensive software platform that mitigates, deters and controls inappropriate conduct and provides organizational transparency,” said Schobel to IDigitalTimes. “Our frictionless reporting platform combines real-time reporting and real-time messaging the result provides real-time awareness for your organization.”
Schobel’s inspiration came after learning about teen cyberbullying victim Amanda Todd on the radio. After hearing about the teen’s suicide, he was motivated to create an app that attempts to make the online space safer for teens.
Todd, who was 15 when she died 2012, lived in Canada and posted a video before her death. In her video, she talks about how she was blackmailed into exposing herself online; the pictures were posted on Facebook and Todd was bullied online. A 35-year-old man in the Netherlands was charged with extortion, criminal harassment, child pornography and internet luring in connection with her suicide.
“Kids are empowered to anonymously report inappropriate behavior both online and off within seconds, what we call ‘frictionless reporting,’” said Schobel. “Now with the ability for any student at any time to report bullying, the net result is deterrence. Kids are thinking before they post – we are not fighting ‘it,’ we are stopping it before bullying starts.”
There are two components to the platform that fights cyberbullying: the mobile app and the incident management system. STOPit allows users to anonymously report acts of bullying. The management system then lets administrators (say, schools, businesses and universities) be advised of the issue, thereby protecting themselves.
“One of the key elements to our platform is STOPit messenger,” Schobel said. “Messenger provides the unique ability for an administrator or manager to be able to communicate with the anonymous reporter to get additional information. This speeds up and increases the efficacy of your investigations by allowing you to proactively reach back out to an anonymous reporter in real-time.”
The response to the app has been positive so far. In the 2014 academic school year, more than 100 schools across 24 states signed up for the service. Earlier this year, Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation announced it would invest in the mobile application.
“By working with STOPit, we hope to empower both bystanders and victims,” said Jeter in a statement, reports Bloomberg. “This is a critical step in creating a clear path to academic and personal success for all students, and sends a message that bullying in any form is unacceptable.”