An antibullying app

October 20, 2010

Could an iPhone app help address teen bullying? Could a website connect abused children to help? MTV and its A Thin Line campaign think so.

Among other things, the campaign asks youth to share their experiences via the app or on the site, and then other users vote as to whether anyone went "over the line." The site also directs users to resources such as the National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline or the police.

On the site, anonymous users share stories on a wide variety of topics: a hijacked Facebook account used to send insulting messages, a large cross posted on a Christian student's locker and labeled "Jesus Freak," prescription drug abuse, sexting.

Here's an excerpt from the site's "about" page:

Sometimes we type things we would never say to someone's face. As a result, new issues like forced sexting, textual harassment and cyberbullying have emerged, which now affect a majority of young people in the U.S.

Recent news stories have underscored the seriousness of these problems. But is an iPhone app going to rid your child's school of bullying? No. And although in general I'm enthusiastic about social media and crowdsourcing, the idea of hundreds of anonymous youth determining the morality of something makes my inner John Calvin very nervous.

The A Thin Line campaign could alert youth to a problem, give them an opportunity to share something difficult to talk about, and function as a way for counselors to begin a conversation. But ultimately our society needs to find our collective voice and say clearly—in person as well as online—"that's just not ok."


Anti-bullying app

Seems that this shows our somewhat dangerous reliance on technology to solve our problems when more human to human interaction and relationship-building is needed.