The following article is taken from the Examiner and talks about a new app that allows students to anonymously report bullying behaviors from their SmartPhones, iPads or computers. While there is certainly the potential for abuse, this is an interesting concept. I particularly like author’s discussion of how this type of application could affect the number of LGBTQ youth who report victimization by their peers.
“Mobile apps are the name of the game and everybody is trying to cash in by creating the newest trend. All it takes is an idea who time has come and then someone becomes an instant millionaire. Necessity always breeds invention and Connecticut teens heard the cries of kids being bullied.
Bullying apps are the newest thing and with the rate of gay youth that commit suicide on the rise, this new wave of apps could be just what the doctor ordered. This particular app created in Connecticut is called B.O.B. which stands for ‘back off bully’. With a name like that there is no way you can have a misunderstanding about its intended purpose.
Yesterday in a WHDH Channel 7News local report one of the developers of B.O.B., Christina Puglisi is quoted as saying “students are bullied and they don’t know how or where to go to get help. Of course, that statement has documented proof of its validity every time a young gay person kills themselves because they can’t handle the torment of daily harassment.
The B.O.B. app’s major convenience and feature is the use of anonymity. You can either report bullying abuse that you see or personally experiencing without having to give your personal information. Once information is put into a database, administrators can study the data for patterns so that a remedy can be effectively implemented. With an application such as this any young person with a smart phone or computer can become a silent avenger to those who need their help.
Now what does this mean for the gay youth of this country? One of the reasons that gay youth don’t report bullying has to do with not wanting to admit they are gay. To report bullying of a gay nature to authorities mean exposing their sexuality which a lot of gay youth are not ready for. A mobile app of this caliber will certainly open up doors to stop gay harassment and protect the secret of the ones being bullied.
No doubt there will be opposition to the use of this app and someone will cry foul or find some way to justify why this app hurts more than it can help. If one gay youth or any youth for that matter, finds peace by reporting their bullying through this app, then the ends most certainly justify the means.”
It is extremely important that youth who identify as members of the LGBTQ community feel supported and safe enough to report peer to peer violence, whether it takes the form of verbal taunting, sexual harassment or physical violence. While bullying is a problem for a lot of young people, LGBTQ youth are 2 to 3 times more likely to be bullied and are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide as their straight peers. RCASA is dedicated to promoting and providing an accepting environment and support network for survivors of all sexual orientations and gender identities. However, if you are an LGBTQ youth or an ally who needs support, guidance or just someone to talk to you should call ROSMY’s 24/7 Youth Support Line at 1-888-644-4390. ROSMY also offers a variety of other support, education and advocacy services to youth in the Richmond area. You can find out more about them here.