An off-the-shelf mobile phone application specifically designed as an anti-bullying measure for children has been released by a Dublin-based tech company.
‘Bully Stop’, as developed by Virtual Mobile Application Development (VMAD), a company owned and run by brothers Tony and Jim Cullen, has been approved by Trinity College Dublin’s Anti Bullying Centre.
The application is available for download for Nokia phones and the Samsung S60 series while versions for the iPhone, Android devices, Windows Mobile, LG, Sony Ericsson and Motorola are in development and will be available in the next few weeks.
What ‘Bully Stop’ does is allow parents to configure their child’s mobile phone to block abusive texts, MMS messages and calls from both identified and unidentified sources.
The ‘Bully Stop’ password-protect Call Log also allows parents to review all text messages sent and received by their child so as to watch out for possible online predators that may be contacting them.
“We’re proud to have developed a piece of software that will improve the lives of young people and their parents,” said CEO Tony Cullen.
“We know from media reports and child protection agencies that the problem has been getting worse. We expect ‘Bully Stop’ to put an end to it. ‘Bully Stop’ can also be used by parents who suspect their child is a bully from contacting others.
Chief technical officer Jim Cullen added: “It’s a terrible worry for parents to think that their child can be bullied on their mobile phone any time of the day or night, at weekends, even when they are out of the country on holidays.”
‘Bully Stop’, which can be downloaded online and costs from €20, is not the first anti-bullying mobile application on the market. Another Irish software development firm Sentry | Wireless last year developed the first ever anti-bullying mobile app in Europe. This application, called Kidsafe, is free for download to 3 Ireland customers and also allows parents to know who, when and how their child is using their mobile phone.
By Marie Boran
Photo: How the ‘Bully Stop’ anti-bullying application works.