Is Your Phone Summer Ready? It’s Time to Start Summer Hours for Your Mobile Device!

For millions of American workers, Memorial Day weekend not only ushered in the unofficial start of summer, but the official start of summer hours. According to the Washington Post, around 40 percent of American companies now offer some version of the summer Friday perk to keep power charges low and recharge workers’ mental batteries.

So how about setting summer hours for our mobile device use? If you’re like most Americans, you can use it.

A mounting body of research shows cell phone addiction is a pervasive problem that’s deteriorating our health in numerous ways – anxiety, depression, loss of sleep, even wrist and hand pains. We know we’re on them too much, yet we do it anyway.

Dr. Jenna Meyerberg, PhD, LPC, an authority on youth social and emotional development, has written extensively about how living in an age of instant communication and nearly unlimited access to information is having a significant, negative impact on people. STOPit Solutions recently had an opportunity to sit with Dr. Meyerberg and talk about electronics addiction on the STOPit Solutions Podcast. In addition to providing helpful suggestions for encouraging everyone to unplug and being more present in real life (aka “IRL”), she shares  evidence-based research proving that people who are more disciplined in their online habits have higher self-esteem and confidence than their tech-obsessed peers.

These statistics and trends may feel oppressive, but the fact is that we DO have control over our own behavior and there’s no better time for a break than now. The beaches are open, the sun is out until 8:30 at night, and the warm breeze smells like flowers, the neighbor’s barbecue and freshly cut grass. Go out and enjoy it! Read on for a few simple ways we can institute summer hours for our phones and tablets.

 

Make a Plan and Apply It

A good way to start is to diagnose the ailment and set your cure. Both Apple and Google now have apps (Screen Time and Digital Wellbeing, respectively) that can tell you how much time you’re spending on your devices, with breakdowns by specific apps and categories.

Those who haven’t checked their stats before may be in for a shock. Studies have suggested that Americans check their phones once every 12 minutes – or roughly 80 times per day – and spend about four hours on them daily. Thankfully, Screen Time and Digital Wellbeing can be programmed to enforce time limits for your apps and lock them if you’ve crossed the line.

Take a look at your averages, come up with realistic goals for curbing your time and use these apps to hold you to them. Can you cut your app use by an hour per day? Two? Take the challenge!

No-Go Times

The dinner table used to be a family’s impenetrable bubble from the world. Kids told mom and dad what they learned in school and there were no interruptions allowed from the TV or ringing phones. Now everyone at the table is glued to Twitter and video games while they chew.

We can all make a meaningful dent in our gadget use by declaring them off-limits at times when good manners dictate they should be off anyway. Set a rule that they’re not allowed in the same room as the dinner table. Apply the same standards to times that are meant to be about family and friends – summer vacation trips, graduation parties, the annual golf outing. You can never get those moments back.

And if you’re out for a meal with friends, encourage everyone to pile them in the center of the table with the sound off. First person to give in picks up the check!

Be a Cellular Role Model

If you want to make summer hours stick with your kids, do as you say and say as you do. Like just about anything with parenting, it’s easy to dictate a bunch of rules and quite another thing to enforce them. If you lecture your kids about a bad behavior and then model it in front of them, they won’t take the lesson seriously or follow it.

If you lay down a “no Kindle before summer camp” rule, don’t let them see you glued to Facebook over your morning coffee. Show them it can be done.

Think about ways you can make summer hours a family affair. If everyone in your house is a part of the challenge, you can hold each other accountable and set up fun prizes for those who reach their goals.

And who knows — once summer hours are over and schools are back in session, maybe some of these healthy, new habits will stick. To paraphrase an old saying, “An app less per day keeps the doctor away.”

Into Action

Download our tip sheet and hang it on the refrigerator and home and work — or pass it along to a friend who you can recruit to take the challenge with you.

For extra satisfaction, write down what you did during the hour (or two) you reclaimed each day. Did you get an extra hour of sleep? Take the time to cook your favorite meal? Walk the dog on a new trail or have that family movie night you keep talking about? Let’s work together to live healthier, happier lives — right now! 

A Look At The Year Ahead: 2019 Bullying Statistics & Trends

By Neil Hooper, COO of STOPit Solutions

The most recent year once again experienced not only some horrible acts of school shooting, but some emerging jarring and tragic statistics on concerning youth behavior.  Bullying and the effects of bullying continues to grow, and we need to remember not to sideline this arguably even more brutal topic while we also address student and school safety.

Finding ways to address bullying is part of our company’s DNA. STOPit Solutions was founded in 2013 on a seemingly normal day after a story on the radio aired and turned out to change our lives forever.  The radio story reminded us of the tragic story of Amanda Todd, a victim of aggressive cyberbullying.  She suffered aggressive online predation and the cruel and relentless taunting by her peers led to her taking her own life at just 15 years old. Amanda had shared her story via flashcards in a YouTube video that caught the world’s attention. We believed the key to helping youth like Amanda and others is to empower them with technology to ask for help.

While school safety remains in the forefront of our minds and tools like STOPit encourages reporting of known issues, the ongoing social and emotional impact of bullying of people like Amanda and its effects are an every day challenge that we are driven to help our school partners address.

In fact, according to numerous studies, including one recently from author Gary Ladd, a psychology researcher at Arizona State University in Tempe, not only does bullying at school affect students’ emotional and social lives, it also directly affects their schoolwork and engagement in the classroom.  

“Nationally, there have been high-profile suicides and school districts trying to implement bully prevention programs,” Ladd commented. “Teachers, parents, school administrators and anyone who knows a school-age kid should understand these effects.”

Ladd’s team found that children who are most chronically bullied are the most likely to have low school engagement, academic self-perception and academic achievement, particularly in math.

According to a study from UCLA, every day more than 280,000 students are physically attacked in schools and one out of ten students who drop out of school, mentions repeated bullying as a factor. Jaana Juvonen, a professor of psychology at UCLA and lead author of the study, states that bullying and low academic achievement are frequently linked. Juvonen is quoted saying, “Students who are repeatedly bullied receive poorer grades and participate less in class discussions. […] Students may get mislabeled as low achievers because they do not want to speak up in class for fear of getting bullied.” Juvenon also remarked that, “Once students get labeled as ‘dumb,’ they get picked on and perform even worse.”

Additionally, in a study from researchers at the University at Buffalo, teens that are victims of cyberbullying are likely to suffer from poor sleep which contributes depression.

The stats around the effects of bullying are staggering and continuous, which is why if we want to keep our kids in school and give them the best possible chance of succeeding, as well as have our students achieve higher academic ratings, reducing and eliminating bullying is a leading contributing factor. 

Beyond affecting grades, the social and emotional learning (SEL) and self-harm statistics generally linked to bullying are hard to ignore.  The most recent data from the CDC confirms a 70% – 77% increase in teen suicide rates over the past 10 years, and the increase is seen in virtually every state in the nation.

Additional data from the CDC confirm that for ages 10-14 and ages 15-24, suicide is the second leading cause of death in the nation (ahead of homicide or health related issues).

The issues span gender, race and socioeconomics, and virtually every statistic related to this topic have been rising year over year over the past 10 years.

Bullyingstatistics.org tells us that:

  • For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts.
  • Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it

Youth suicide is an incredibly difficult event for families, schools, and entire communities. The fact remains in study after study: Being the victim of bullying can deeply affect a young person and the entire community around them and it’s time to put local programs in place to help our schools with their specific issues. From locally implemented anonymous reporting to help youth speak up, through integrated SEL content to assist issues as they arise, we look forward to a day when our schools have the tools they need to help our children with these new threats to their wellbeing.

The STOPit Solutions premise is simple: Bullying isn’t done in private. Bullies want attention and their action are witnessed. It is seen and heard, and we need to empower bystanders to become upstanders. We all know the concerns surrounding the stigma of speaking up, so in order to get the conversation started we empower anonymous reporting—and it works. In STOPit schools that consistently use the platform to get ahead of issues before they spiral out of control, the school culture becomes a more inclusive and protective community.  Stopping bullying can begin with the help of fellow students, and using STOPit is an integral component of that strategy.

Want to find out more about how STOPit Solutions can help your organization?

Sexual Assault Awareness Month is April: Stay Informed, Stay Vigilant and Take Action to Combat Sexual Assault

The momentum of movements like Me Too and Time’s Up is causing society to make a major shift in how we discuss and react to sexual violence, as well as how sexual assaults are identified, reported, and prevented. And there is no time is better to lead and participate in these discussions than now, since April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), a time when survivors and advocacy groups work to raise awareness surrounding the pervasive issue of sexual violence.

And the prevalence of sexual assault can be shocking.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC):

  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives.
  • 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they are 18 years old.
  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.
  • 90% of college sexual assault victims don’t report the assault.
  • Rape is the most underreported crime: 63% of cases are never reported to police.

These statistics make it clear that sexual assault is a serious and widespread problem. Moreover, in addition to immediate costs such as medical expenses and missed wages, sexual assault can have devastating long-term impacts like post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

What’s not as clear, as evidenced by a growing body of research, is how victims can safely reach out to report incidents and ask for help. Anecdotal and peer-reviewed research both confirm that victims of sexual assault, rape, or sexual abuse almost unanimously report that it is often confusing to know where to turn to report an incident — and it’s always intimidating.

Statistics and surveys are also showing that while the #MeToo movement may be encouraging more victims feel to come forward, victims and witnesses are not reporting these attacks using traditional methods. Survivors have given the following reasons for not reporting a sexual assault:

  • Fear of retaliation
  • Scared of hostile treatment by the authorities
  • Uncertain that authorities would consider the incident serious enough
  • Did not want family or friends to know about it
  • Didn’t know how to report the incident

Workplaces and schools can take a modern approach to protecting their people and their reputation by utilizing smartphone apps like STOPit as a 21st century solution. These tools are designed to create a safe space for students and employees to report incidents freely—and without fear. The hope is that by making it simple and anonymous, people will be encouraged to report, which allows for real-time, positive intervention for the victim as well as the additional benefit of helping to quickly identify repeat offenders.

Learn More About How STOPit Can Empower People to be Courageous When Confronting Sexual Assault

It’s encouraging to recognize that safe, anonymous reporting tools and improvements in organizational cultures are bolstering the courage of bystanders — giving them the confidence to get involved in protecting their co-workers by providing corroborating evidence in support of a friend’s, classmate’s or co-worker’s report. In a problem this serious, we celebrate every step forward.

“I Ask” for “Awareness to Action”

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center, a leading nonprofit in providing information and tools to prevent and respond to sexual violence, has adopted “I Ask” as their theme for this year’s SAAM. The campaign, “champions the message that asking for consent is a healthy, normal, and necessary part of everyday interactions.” Words and actions shape our world and culture: raising awareness of how often sexual violence happens; talking about consent; sharing safety, prevention, and reporting strategies; and learning helpful and compassionate ways to talk to survivors are the goals of SAAM.

The good news is that individuals, communities, and companies are already taking important steps to successfully combat the risk of sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse through conversations, programs, policies, and tools that promote safety, respect, and equality. Marriott has received a lot of recent, positive press for its corporate commitment to stamping out human trafficking in the hospitality industry.

Campaigns like #MeTooK12 and RAAIN’S Awareness to Action, provide everything from statistics to help define the problem and put it in context, to practical tools like scripts for how to hold a conversation with friends, family and community about sexual violence. They even provide ready-to-go graphics and campaign hashtags to help promote the conversation on social media platforms.

Encouraging as these campaigns are, however, we need to stay committed to working for real, lasting solutions to sexual violence in our workplaces, schools and communities. Recent news stories like the one that exposed rampant corruption —  including cheating and bribery — in the college admissions scandal, make it easier for us to allow the seriousness of this issue fade into the background and threaten to drown out emerging conversations that are calling for action — like those that are happening right now in higher education.

In fact, sexual misconduct is the most frequently reported and managed incident type on the STOPit app for Higher Education customers. Cases brought against campuses, including William Paterson University, and Ivy League schools such as Yale University where three students have filed a class-action lawsuit, arguing that the university has enabled a fraternity culture of harassment, remind us to remain engaged and vigilant — even as we celebrate progress towards the goal of making sexual harassment and victimization, rare.

Let’s Do More All Year Long to Combat Sexual Assault.

What else can be done to help? Individuals can show support for survivors, stand up to victim blaming, correct harmful misconceptions, and promote everyday consent.

Though it is certainly a good thing that SAAM gives us an opportunity to come together as a community to learn more and do more, one month isn’t enough to solve the widespread issue of sexual violence. However we can use the attention SAAM generates as an opportunity to energize and expand prevention efforts throughout the year.

The NSVRC is calling on supporters to wear teal on April 2, their “Day of Action,” as a way to spread awareness and show solidarity with survivors.

For more ideas and opportunities to get involved all month long, visit these organizations online:

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

RAAIN

NO MORE

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Each voice is powerful and necessary in preventing sexual violence, misconduct, and abuse. SAAM is a powerful a reminder that we can change the world through the things we say and do each day.

For more information about STOPit and how organizations are using the anonymous reporting app to encourage healthier, safer communities, workplaces and schools, call one of our safety solutions experts, today.

New Year Brings New Resolve for Students Ready to Report Bullying

STOPit school administrators, have you seen a few more reports from your students right after the holidays? There is a reason associated with that and here we will share our findings and research.

Unlike what schools typically see a few weeks after opening day — when bullies zero in on their targets and start getting aggressive — many of reports can be taken as a positive sign. Research show that what you’ll see shortly after winter break are students getting long-festering troubles off their chests so they can enjoy a peaceful, productive second half of the school year.

Why? As it turns out, there’s no place like home for the holidays.

“When the students go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, they have more chances to speak with their older siblings or other trusted family members,” STOPit Solutions Chief Revenue Officer Neil Hooper said. “Over these breaks, students spend extended time with their family, and for college students in particular, it may have been a number of weeks since they last visited home. They often get the guidance they need over these breaks to understand that what they have been experiencing is not acceptable and they need to report what they have seen.”

Emboldened by these discussions, the students take steps necessary to make things right – talking to teachers, acting as upstanders and yes, anonymously reporting issues. According to Hooper, a review of data submitted to STOPit’s 3,000 school customers shows a brief but very valuable statistical increase in reports in the weeks following the long winter break vs. the average for the year.

“We certainly know that there is stress around the holidays, and that not everyone’s holiday break is positive,” Hooper said. “This family stress can be a source of reporting. However, the largest impact of a holiday break is positive.”

STOPit helps ensure that the act of reporting does not add to students’ stress. The mobile app was designed to feel as familiar as possible to today’s generation of digital natives, functioning and appearing just like a text message. Users can count on the knowledge that their conversations will remain completely anonymous, until or unless they choose to identify themselves. For schools that don’t have the staff available to respond to STOPit reports on holidays and other off hours, STOPit also offers a 24/7 monitoring service.

Those assigned to administer STOPit in their schools can return from the break prepared to take advantage of the windfall of information and act to address issues that were kept out of their view.

“School administrators should not only be ready for their return, but this opportunity should be cherished,” Hooper said. “Encouraging students to open up and let their parents be parents, and encouraging students to reflect with their family is an important process. Let’s not forget that helping students is not just for the schools, but for the parents as well.”

This post-holiday surge is just one example of the important, nationwide trends being gleaned through data collected by STOPit schools across the country. In addition to these universal insights, individual schools can also benefit from analytics particular to their own, unique community. Using the STOPit Admin tool, schools can easily identify trends impacting their own students, allowing counselors and educators to prepare and respond to potential opportunities and challenges in the way best suited for their special school community. And with a suite of carefully curated social-emotional learning content now available through the mobile app, schools can easily make positive content available to their students to help them build resiliency on topics most impactful to that student community.

Call us to learn more about how educators are using the insights from STOPit analytics to provide better protection for their students.

Four Reasons To Love The New STOPit Admin Experience for Incident Management

Part 2 of 2 in a series on the STOPit 2018 Platform Update

Read Part 1

STOPit Solutions recently announced the launch of STOPit Admin, and users of the nation’s most popular anonymous reporting & management platform are already weighing in with their approval.

Formerly known as DOCUMENTit, STOPit Admin is an enhanced version of the comprehensive, streamlined, cloud-based incident management system enabling organization administrators to manage incidents submitted via the STOPit mobile app. Like the new version of the app, STOPit developers updated the user experience to capitalize on the most successful, most widely adopted features of the digital user experience today. STOPit Admin also deploys new, robust information sharing, analytics, and reporting features — part of the company’s commitment to continuously improve the entire user experience.

Easy-To-Use and Secure Incident Management

“It’s another tool for us to interact with our students in a manner which otherwise they probably would not. If we can help one child, that otherwise would not be helped– then why not do that. That’s our role. That’s what we’re supposed to do,” said Michael Coleman, a recently launched customer of the platform.

As with the reporting app, feedback from users and focus groups played an important role in the evolution of the platform.

“Our goal in refreshing the incident management platform was to make sure administrators continue to have the best, easiest to learn and easiest use incident management system available,” says Teresa Reuter, STOPit’s Director of Customer Success. “STOPit Admin delivers on that goal by empowering clients to be exceptionally effective, giving them more control over their ability to prioritize their time and attention.”

Here are a few highlights of what’s new with STOPit Admin:

  1. New Home screen: The attractive, easy to read layout is updated to include a section for administrators to broadcast organization-specific content that’s most relevant to their community. Whether the information being shared is targeted to the entire community or to a distinct group of people within the community, articles and announcements are shared based on knowledge of the prevailing challenges and opportunities at that organization.
  2. Updated Incident Report Snapshot area: Integrated into the Home screen, the Snapshot section for new and active incident reports includes an automatic pop up window highlighting new messages, saving administrators even more time and allowing them more control to set priorities.
  3. New Stats Snapshot feature: With more information, organized and available without running a full report, this section gives admins an at-a-glance look at the number of activations (users who download the app) and incident status information updates. Admins with monitoring and reporting responsibility use this option for a quick, accurate read on key information to share with other admins and supervisors at a moment’s notice.
    As always, detailed reporting is a key function of STOPit Admin, and robust reporting is available in the included Reports section.
  4. Updated Incident screen: Designed to mirror the ‘Inbox’ experience perfected by email clients, this screen now autofills the incident description. Tabs and other options on this screen are organized to make it even easier to manage user-facing as well as admin-facing tasks and messages.

Making the Switch to STOPit Admin

Users who loved DOCUMENTit’s functionality will delight to find there’s absolutely no learning curve for STOPit Admin. If you were adding incidents, and escalating or resolving incidents in DOCUMENTit, you know how to do it in STOPit Admin. As always, improvements to the STOPit platform make the entire experience easier, while delivering the same, superior results customers expect.

And for organizations who are using STOPit’s popular IMS Service which provides monitoring and and escalation services 24/7, the new interface makes it even easier for the first-line auditors to review each incident, determine the nature and priority of the report and take the right next steps. Whether that next step is to escalate actionable reports to an internal or external administrator — or not — those first-responders are getting anonymous incident reports in the most streamlined, integrated format available.

Find out more about how STOPit solutions can help your school, your workplace and your community reduce risk, discourage bad behavior and provide evidence to help catch those who act abusively.

Click below to contact us and find out more.

A New Design for A Powerful Mobile Reporting App That Successfully Fights Harassment, Intimidation, Bullying and Other Harmful Behaviors

Part 1 of 2 in a series on the STOPit 2018 Platform Update

Read Part 2

Over 3,000 schools, a growing number of municipalities and more than 100 businesses are using the STOPit app to empower individuals to stand up to harassment, bullying and other forms of intimidation or harmful behavior. For hundreds of thousands of people across the United States and internationally, STOPit is providing people with the power to safely, anonymously report abuse and to seek help — putting the solution, literally, in the palm of their hands.

And this year, users got a major upgrade.

The development team at STOPit solicited feedback from a diverse group of users, including youth, school administrators, and educators, employees working in healthcare, hospitality and other businesses, as well as public safety and law enforcement users, to improve to the look and ‘feel’ of the most popular mobile reporting tool available. Focus groups helped with UX (user experience) choices, and feedback from hundreds of human resource and compliance administrators provided clear examples about what they liked most about the app, giving the development team a good place to start building the next version.

“The app is a tremendous resource and we’ve seen a dramatic improvement in the way the kids in our school think about bullying and helping each other. I was happy to share feedback that is helping to make the app even better.” Said Larry, recent grad of Wall High School in NJ — a STOPit customer.

No other solution in the marketplace is so focused on their users, and ensuring a simple, fast and powerful experience.

Choose STOPit and Change for the Better

All updates to the app and to the STOPit Admin incident management software are focused on continually improving the user experience. In fact, with this latest upgrade, the app has evolved from an effective, powerful reporting tool into one that also provides information and support to help users feel safer, better connected and better informed, 24/7.

New features enable a more robust and customizable library of information resources including articles and crisis/help lines, social and emotional learning articles, and research articles focused on specific interests including professional topics and challenges. Updates to the new Thank You screen provide clear, positive feedback when people file a report.

“This upgraded mobile app presents options in a clean, intuitive format that leverages the best UX of other popular and successful digital experiences,” said Teresa Reuter, STOPit’s Director of Customer Success. “And the easier it is to use, the more people will use it to improve safety at their school or organization and challenge harassment of themselves and their coworkers, neighbors or classmates.”

In addition to the updated UX features, users will also get:

  1. Simplified activation process: The upgraded app provides options for making it even easier to login and report while still delivering the best in security and anonymity to users. Users put in a one-time, district, company or community access code and simply choose their location from a drop-down menu, or, they can skip entering an access code entirely and scan a QR code from any of the launch materials STOPit prepares for each client.
  2. Broadcast: The Notification function is updated as well, offering organizations the option to load in specific content, such as relevant educational information, in addition to broadcasting important announcements and opportunities. Content choices are chosen by each organization to best serve their own, particular culture and communications needs.
  3. Get Help: This button has been moved to a more prominent location in the bottom menu. Organizations upload their own resources, such as national and local helplines.
  4. Activity Screen: It’s been transformed with an even more powerful, easy to use design. The new ‘inbox’ feel makes it easier to check reports and log information. Users now update information for a specific incident, adding more evidence, or clarifying details in the original report. Anonymous communication about the incident and follow up is as easy and secure as ever.

What’s in a Name? For STOPit Admin — Everything.

In addition to the mobile app update, STOPit also launched a transformation of DOCUMENTit, the company’s comprehensive, streamlined, cloud-based incident management system, renamed STOPit Admin.

STOPit Admin deploys an even better, more intuitive user interface, and has even more robust information features and streamlined reporting and analytics dashboards to make the admin role even easier and more time effective. “We can’t be more excited about this,” Reuter said, “and clients are delighted by the improvements — especially by how easy it is to leverage their current knowledge of how the tool functions in an even better user experience.”

Find out more about how STOPit solutions can help your organization reduce risk, discourage bad behavior and provide evidence to help catch those who act abusively. Click below to contact us and find out more.

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