BullyBlocker: Keep Safe from Cyberbullies
While our crowdfunding campaign has ended, you can still contribute to the BullyBlocker project. The new web page for donations is: http://asufoundation.org/bullyblocker. Beyond the Bully To prevent cases of adolescents being cyberbullied on Facebook, BullyBlocker alerts parents of potential cases where their child may be a victim of this form of online aggression. Indeed, over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and well over half of the victims do not tell their parents when cyberbullying occurs. Addressing this epidemic, BullyBlocker gauges at-risk adolescents who are most emotionally vulnerable by using a combination of computer science coupled with psychology research.
After being granted various permissions, BullyBlocker extracts information from the child’s Facebook data to be analyzed for signs of cyberbullying. This includes hurtful comments, embarrassing photos, and other methods of virtual harassment. The results are then converted into numerical factors and plugged into computer algorithms that compute the Bullying Rank, determining how well this child fits the profile of a cyberbullying victim.
Moreover, one of our design goals is the inclusion of mechanisms that enable improving the accuracy of our cyberbullying identification model.
Friend or Foe?
Without BullyBlocker, the best way for a parent to monitor their children on Facebook is by either logging into their accounts or creating an account and ‘friending’ them. Despite taking these precautions, a parent is still limited to what they can find: it’s easy to miss or overlook potential red flags when trying to keep up with the demanding task of watching their children’s Facebook interactions, as either a moderator or a friend. Manually monitoring their accounts may be the only obstacle preventing a parent from identifying a case of virtual harassment. BullyBlocker overcomes this limitation. In fact, BullyBlocker doesn’t even require a parent to have a Facebook account in the first place.
Of course, the issue of the adolescent’s privacy is at question. Rest assured, that although our application requires access to the child’s Facebook interactions, the information and conversations we identify that include online aggression remain anonymous, thus protecting the privacy of the child. The parent is only notified of alarming aggregated statistics and a summarizing numerical risk value – the Bullying Rank – communicating to the parent only the potential degree at which their child may be cyberbullied.
A parent will be neither a ‘friend’ nor a foe to their child. Thanks to BullyBlocker – a parent can remain a parent.
Towards Safer Social Networking
An ongoing project, the model we’ve designed to identify cyberbullying builds on previous research findings in the area of cyberbullying in adolescents. Consequently, we’ve designed our model to identify the warning signs and the states of vulnerability that can be identified from available data. Previous literature influences what characteristics are considered in the identification of cyberbullying as well as the probability of bullying within identifiable groups, where victims are typically children on the “fringe” of various peer groups, e.g., newcomers.
In addition to our first model, our team is currently in the process of implementing an initial version of the application. After reaching this milestone, we will evaluate the accuracy of the model and explore mechanisms to improve it, integrating parental feedback and machine learning techniques.
We Need You
BullyBlocker has the potential to be an incredible resource for parents. Lately, there has been an overwhelming amount of stories in the news regarding young victims of cyberbullying, and the impact of cyberbullying on their lives. Your support and generous contributions will help to further the creation of the BullyBlocker application and, in so doing, will be putting a tool in the hands of parents that will enable them to monitor their child’s risk of being cyberbullied. BullyBlocker would provide parents with awareness and a chance to help their child in time to make a difference. The goal isn’t to replace parenting, but rather to provide a tool to help parent.
Your generous contributions will aid in the creation of the BullyBlocker application. A good deal of research and application development has already been completed. However, there is still a substantial amount of research and development necessary to complete the project. The money donated will enable the creation of student scholarships, each in the amount of $2,500; these scholarships will be awarded to student research assistants.
Donations will also allow for the purchase of both hardware equipment and computing resources to be used for application development and to cover travel expenses for students to attend research conferences. We can see the enormous potential our application has to decrease the risks associated with adolescents being cyberbullied and hope you will join our cause. Any donations are considered as charitable contributions toward a non-profit organization.
Learn more Facebook page (crowdfunding updates and news): https://www.facebook.com/thebullyblocker Research project website (research related news, publications and posters): http://www.public.asu.edu/~ynsilva/BullyBlocker/ Cyberbullying statistics (used in video and in project description): http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/cyber-bullying-statistics.html YouTube BullyBlocker video: http://youtu.be/BSmSidmuc44 Video YouTube de BullyBlocker en Español: http://youtu.be/SdyTSPWlsk8