In New Jersey, the Harassment, Intimidation, or Bullying (HIB) law was enacted for the the 2011-2012 school year. While it certainly is the most comprehensive, methodical law in the US today (you can read the law and the HIB process here: http://www.state.nj.us/education/parents/bully.pdf), it’s creation, formation, and opinions are stemmed from a variety of external factors. Factors include movies, websites, and even apps that you can use on your smartphone. I recently downloaded two apps and wanted to share with you my thoughts on them.
- The first app I downloaded is called Stop Bullies. Free of charge, it offers to collect your personal information (name and contact info) and then send a bullying incident to authorities. The app gives you an option of sending a photo, a text message, or a video. You can send the incident as yourself or as ‘anonymous’ (I know what you’re thinking, but the anonymous piece is very important, as many state laws allow you to file complaints in this fashion). It also has a resources button that offers nine different links to various webpages (from defining the word ‘bully’ to “the ABC’s of bullying for students, parents, teachers, and administrators).
My concerns: from the administrative standpoint, I don’t know where this information is going. I have never heard of this program / app before, and as far as I know, nobody else has either. Is the company just collecting data or are they sending it to the District? Students and parents already have the opportunity to report HIB incidents anonymously in NJ (the district has to provide the tool to do such as well). I’ll be wataching to see if anyhting comes along via the Stop Bullies app.
- The second app is called Take A Stand Together. Also free, this app was designed for students in Australia; I was hesitant at first to download, but bullying is universal and has no bounds. I’m glad I downloaded it. Take a Stand Together has five different links on the main app, but you need to build your avatar before “unlocking” areas. The avatar is fun to make, and you have to choose form ten anti-bullying statements. You give it initials, state your grade (designed for grades 1-12) and you province. I just clicked 🙂 Going back to the main page, each link takes you to a tip sheet tailored to what you clicked on offering scads of advice. Should you want more, you can click on links to websites out of the app, and on all pages you can click on the ‘get help!’ button and get additional tips, along with further contact information.
My Concerns – I don’t have any! I wish this app would be copied by a company in the US and updated with US contact information. Definitely worth checking out.