Thursday, 11 February 2010

Free mobile sms service getting to grips with bullying in schools: Bullyproof

If you are a teacher, principle or kids-psychologist worried about counseling or guiding young children on the topic of bullying, this software might be of interest to you.

Bullyproof will be released in March 2010, but you can check it out with the developer Brendan O'Keefe pre-release. This FREE software caught my attention for two reasons: first of all the obvious one in that it could reduce bullying, and second that it uses software that has been around in Africa for some time now, including great live saving medical applications.
Because the software is open source and free, you can adjust it to your language also (if necessary).

Reduce bullying
First of all bullyproof says to decrease bullying by using sms's. The free Bullyproof software, developed by Brendan O'Keefe, enables kids from primary and secondary school to send sms-allerts when bullying is taking place, or has happened. Because more and more young children have access to a mobile phone, and because it is a daily used instrument to those who have it, the technology is low threshold. Sending an sms is also not conspicuous, as I also found my kid sister sms-ing her friends without even having to glance at her mobile phone screen (straight from writing her sms inside the pocket of her jacket).
Bullyproof SMS is a social innovation designed to help reduce bullying. It enables students to report anonymously via their mobile phone, and schools to be notified and respond instantly to bullying or cyber bullying incidences.

The Bullyproof SMS software is available free to all schools and organisations that have an existing policy on bullying. (from their website) How it Works: Students text a report to a dedicated number and the report is then instantly forwarded to the appropriate person(s) mobile phone so they can respond in a timely manner. The report is also automatically forwarded via email to the school counsellor or principal. The Bullyproof SMS software comes preloaded with a database of tips and strategies for students that can be accessed by sending the keyword 'bully tip 1,2,3,4 'etc to a dedicated number.

As we all know their is an increased need to tackle cyberbullying, just this week the BBC wrote another article on it, and some parents indicate cyberbullying is the source for their kids suicide. Some countries like Australia put it high on the educational agenda as more than 1 million dollars is taken out to do research on the topic. Taking all this into account the bullyproof software might be a good and affordable (free) application to check out. If you want to get more information on it, twitter Brendan, he replies swiftly and if you like personal contact, he even offers skype sessions to exchange all the features of the bullyproof software.

What is the link with Africa?
Bullyproof is an application based on frontline-sms-software which has been actively used in Africa for a variety of social reasons (elections, social action...). So if you hadn't heard of Frontline which is software from, take a look, as it might inspire you to develop some mobile applications for social change as well.

For those of you interested in mobile medical applications, check out the medic frontline-sms examples, really fantastic!!