"Kids don't express themselves anymore, because they're scared they're going to get punished on social media," said Todd Schobel, president/CEO of STOPit, a smartphone app and campaign to end cyberbullying.
Social media has given rise to a form of bullying more pervasive and easier for the perpetrator to get away with than in-person bullying. The STOPit app aims to use the primary platform for cyberbullying, smartphones, as a tool to help end this behavior.
"The biggest issue is that kids don't want to talk about bullying when it happens," said Schobel. "They don't want to answer a bunch of questions."
Instead, users can take screenshots of the bullying on their phones, and anonymously send the evidence to a trusted adult or school administrator whose contact info has been previously uploaded onto the app. The app also connects to a 24/7 talk or text line with a certified counselor.
STOPit is also available to schools for about $2 per student annually. This program includes a dashboard for administrators where the app's bullying reports are sent and collected.
Since launching in January, Schobel says he's signed up 19 schools. Dozens more will be bringing STOPit to their students in the 2014-2015 school year.