With the rise of social media and the Internet, bullying has taken a new form. Instead of face-to-face encounters, teenagers are being bullied online.
Many teens say cyberbullying often goes unreported because victims are afraid to speak up.
Creators of a new app are hoping to change that. STOPit provides a way for teens to seek help.
On the app's website, stopitcyberbully.com, founder Todd Schobel writes, "Not long ago I heard a radio interview about a young girl who was viciously bullied, primarily through social media posts. She committed suicide. As I listened, my heart stopped beating for what felt like an eternity. I couldn't breathe. Tears flowed, and my life has never been the same. This should never happen to children, and I had to help. The idea for STOPit was born."
According to the site, the STOPit app has four main features: the "Stop It" button, which forwards offensive material to trusted adults and officials, the "Help It" button which provides support, the "Friend It" button which allows teens to anonymously report cyberbullying to adults, and the "Report It" button, which helps with documenting offenses.
Parents said they support the app, explaining that it will provide teens with the tools to make a difference.
“They don't tell their parents. They tell their friends, and their friends don't do anything. So if it's something where they can report it and they can talk about it with somebody who can help them it's way better,” said Alexandra Flores, a mom from New Haven.
The app, which costs about $4, is available for individuals to buy. According to the site, it's also available for school districts to purchase.