February 26, 2014 is Pink Shirt Day, a day when students, individuals, businesses and organizations across North America are encouraged to wear pink as a symbol of anti-bullying. Many South Florida schools like Beach High and organizations participate as well. Pink Shirt Day came about as a result of two Nova Scotia high school students who took a stand and came to the aid of a 9th grade boy who was being bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. To show their support for the 9th grader, the two teenage boys distributed pink T-shirts to the boys in their school, who wore the shirts on the same day as a protest to bullying.
Bullying and the prevention of it has become a major focus in our schools today. Bullies are no longer limited to just verbal or physical bullying. Text and online bullying have become a serious problem among adolescents and teens. According to School bullying statistics in the United States:
- About one in four kids in the U.S. are bullied on a regular basis.
- Almost 9 out of 10 teens have a cell phone, and about 1 in 5 will be victims of a text bully. Text bullying has become more common than traditional bullying, especially among girls.
- More than half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online.
- More than 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet.
As a result of the increase in bullying, many mobile apps have been developed to help parents protect their children from bullying and to create awareness around the problem. Below is a list of these types of apps compiled by AT&T:
- BullyBlock – (Android – FREE) – This app captures and block bullies that are causing you and your family harm. The Bully Block app allows users to covertly record verbal threats and harassment, block inappropriate texts and pictures (e.g. sexting), and utilize auto respond features. Bully Block blocks bullies that utilize private or unknown numbers to engage in cyberbullying. Bully Block also has instant reporting features that allow the user to email or text abusive behavior to parents, teachers, HR departments, and law enforcement. All audio, messages, and calls are stored on the phone SD card.
- TipSubmitMobile – ( Apple iOS, Android – FREE) – TipSubmit Mobile allows tipsters to submit secure and anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers, law enforcement agencies or school safety officers and administrators. Thousands of communities, schools and government agencies are covered by this application since it connects directly with TipSoft, the world's largest and North America's only, truly anonymous tip reporting system. Tipsters could receive rewards of up to $1,000 in the U.S. and up to $2,000 in Canada for information submitted to Crime Stoppers and nobody will ever know your identity.
- Bully Stop (Android – FREE) – This app helps protect your children from bully calls, texts and picture messages. The app gives your children the ability to block calls and messages from people they don’t want to hear from. Bully Stop uses a Block List to block unwanted callers and texters. The app maintains a password-protected call log of all attempted contact with your child so you can approach the relevant people, parents, teachers or police and show proof of the bullying communication.
- Bully Button – (Apple iOS – $0.99) – This application is for helping when the user is in trouble. It lets them record and send an email with audio attachment with text by tapping “Record and Send” button. Children can call a parent, friend or school by selecting appropriate options.
Stay safe, guys and gals.