Teen creates app to stop cyberbullying

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Scared to speak against bullies online or in real life? There is a solution being put into place in Indiana. The app BullyBøx allows students to submit pictures or screenshots directly to administrators of their school anonymously. This free app was created by 17-year-old Brandon Boynton, a victim of bullying, in Pendleton, Indiana.

“I think it could actually benefit a lot of people. When it comes to bullying, it’s often that you have trouble speaking out in fear that you are going to get hurt because of it so to be able to talk to somebody else about it without anybody reciprocating or hurting you is a really important thing. I think it’s pretty cool,” freshman Alex Volz said.

According to Time for Kids, the app allows students to report bullying without being held accountable for giving information about the incident.

“BullyBøx is a great idea for purging the system of bullies. It is a really good idea because it makes people feel a little bit more comfortable and gives a more subversive attitude on where bullies are and where they can be located and how they behave not in the public eye or around adults, superintendents or teachers,” freshman Jack Vaughan said.

The app allows students to send the name of victim, name of bully, location, date/time, witnesses, a description and a photo or screenshot.

“I think it will be helpful in properly dealing with the situation and finding out who has been victimized and who should be punished for it,” junior Allison Wills said.

bullybox2Cyberbullying is becoming a cycle of victims and bullies.

“On average, about 25% of the students who have been a part of our last 8 studies have said they have been the victim of cyberbullying at some point in their lifetime. The rates of cyberbullying offending have also varied among the research studies we have conducted. On average, about 16% of the students who have been a part of our last 8 studies have admitted that they have cyber bullied others at some point in their lifetime,” Justin W. Patchin said on the statistics page of the Cyberbullying Research Center website.

According to the description the iTunes/Android Appstore, the app is designed to “allow students to anonymously report application is only useful if you are a parent or student in a participating school.” The app is only currently in use by three schools in Indiana and various students at West are advocating for the app to be in use in Missouri.

“It should start being in Missouri but only to a certain degree,” Vaughan said. “I think it should be more heavily monitored, like maybe make it have more evidence in it. It’s a great idea. It should be applied in all states and Puerto Rico.”

Students in the community have expressed interest in addressing the issue.

“I think that it’s a very important type of bullying that we need to do more research in and how to prevent it because I think it can easily be prevented and there should be bigger rules outlawing it,” junior Tristan Johnson said.

Even with plenty of benefits coming from use of the app, negative effects of BullyBøx have also been reported.

“Somebody could submit a photo of a random person or get somebody who shouldn’t be in trouble into trouble. It could be falsely accusing,” Vaughan said.

Since BullyBøx is not currently avalibale for students at West, there are other ways to report cyber bullying at http://cyberbullying.us/report.

If you want to find out more about BullyBøx, read more at http://mostbeastlystudios.com/bullybox/.

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