Anonymous reporting app a positive step
Published 9:00 am Sunday, June 25, 2023
While we’re often raising concerns about the dangers teens face with unlimited access to technology and social media, a recent move by the Natchez Adams School District might just be an exception worth lauding.
Earlier this week, school board members authorized the purchase of the STOPit phone app for students in the district. This app is designed to allow students to safely and confidentially report incidents of cyberbullying, self-harm or misconduct. Students can send text messages, photos or videos as evidence to officials – all while remaining anonymous. And the app can help connect students with trained crisis counselors as well.
For an investment of less than $4,300 annually, the district can make this app accessible to its students and, we hope, offer yet another tool designed to help students stay safe.
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Cyberbullying is a pervasive threat to our young people. Social media platforms, text messaging, instant messaging platforms, online forums, email and online gaming communities are plagued with bullying and taunting, from mild to deadly. Every young person with access to a screen – whether phone, tablet or desktop – is at risk for cyberbullying. And stats show that seven in 10 young people experience cyberbullying before they hit the age 18.
Of the teens who admitted to being victims, half said they were left angry; a third felt hurt; and nearly 15 percent admitted to being afraid. Bullying takes the form of sexual remarks, online rumors, mean comments and more. And teens are often bullied for their appearance, academic achievement, race, sexuality, financial status and religion, among a myriad of other reasons.
Being a teen is hard enough without the added amplification of digital platforms adding to taunting and bullying.
That’s why we’re encouraged by the adoption of this safe, anonymous reporting app for NASD students. Anything we can do as adults and educators to offer avenues for protection and reporting to our young people is a step in the right direction.