Schools with the help of smartphone technology against sexual violence

The same technology that keeps children glued to their smartphones, is used by some schools as a protection against sexual violence. The use of apps, victims and bystanders warn the officials of the school, police or parents problems. While the systems can be used by children pranking each other, app-developers and school officials say that most of the claims are credible. The reporting happens as events unfold and managers can respond immediately.

The real challenge is money. Not all schools can afford the apps, some of which base their costs on the number of users or the size of a student population. However, the school-and insurance companies are increasingly picking up the tab, you see the apps as a tool to reduce risk.

Experts warn that these apps should never be considered the only way for a school to address the issue of student sexual abuse.

Here are a few of them:

STOPit: New Jersey on the basis of the author Todd Schobel launched this app in 2013. His inspiration was Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old boy who committed suicide after posting a video on YouTube in which they held flashcards to describe how her topless picture ended up on the Internet, which is a relentless barragh ‘ e-bullying. The app— defended by Amanda’s mother — victims and bystanders to report anonymously to administrators, teachers, and virtually everyone in the school deems necessary. There are no parental controls. Users can send a single text or a two-way chat, and can take pictures, screenshots and video. The person who receives the signal can forward the data to law enforcement or suicide response teams, depending on the risk. The app stores of all evidence and notes relating to incidents in a secure cloud-based server, so that the school leadership may collect and analyze it over time.

Number of users: More than 2.5 million in K-12, according to the company.

What it costs: Schools pay from $1 to $5 per head of the app, depending on the size of the students. Some schools, insurers have also started to pay for the software for their customers, because they see it as a way to reduce risk.

Available for download in Apple’s App Store or Google Play.


ANONYMOUS REPORTS: The name says it all, really. Students can overcome the social pressures associated with the “betrayed” colleagues by sending anonymous tips. This app has dropdown menus, ask users what type of school they attend and where the incident occurred, where a bus, in the hall or in the gym. Students can send school administrators with a single text, or back-and-forth conversations. They can also photos, social media screenshots or video. The president of the company, Gregory Bender, made his first emergency message system after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The software of the computer for his latest app launched in 2013 to address all forms of bullying, also collects the reports of students about the time, so that schools can monitor trends.

Number of users: Around 5 million in K-12 schools, according to the company. It is only available for the participating schools with a license.

What it cost: 50 cents to $2 per head.

Available for download in Apple’s App Store or Google Play and Chromebook Store.


CIRCLE of 6: Made by sexual assault survivors, this was born out of the White House “Apps Against Abuse” challenge in 2011. Although the company Tech 4 Good, initially developed the app for schools, now adapted for use by young students. After downloading the app, students choose six trusted friends to join a “circle”. If they are in a precarious situation, the users click on an icon with which a predefined sms message to tell their friends that they need help and what kind. The app also contains informative links about sexual abuse, and the national hot lines. Prince William County Public Schools, the second largest school district in Virginia with 90,000 students, signed K-12 schools in 2016. The district says that they don’t know how many students have downloaded the app, but developers say that this is the first grade of the school in the united states to sign. Circle of 6 was designed and custom-made to provide an extra layer of protection for the younger children, with parental permission required for persons under 13 years of age to download the app.

Number of users: 350,000 (usually colleges)

What it costs: $1 to $3 per head.

Available for download in Apple’s App Store or Google Play.


KNOWBullying: This mobile app is for parents, aimed at helping to initiate difficult conversations about bullying and harassment with children. It also helps parents look out for different warning signs — not only to determine whether their children are bullied, but also when they should be doing the bullying. In the first instance is created for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Number of users: Approximately 30,000

What it costs: Free.

Available for download in Apple’s App Store or Google Play.



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