Bullying is a nasty and pervasive part of many children’s lives, and there’s no doubt that it needs to be dealt with in as many ways as possible, ranging from parent education (how to spot the signs) to classroom monitoring to pick up on signs early enough to stop something developing into a fully traumatic event. In this regard we need to applaud any technology that helps to fight the bully at source.
That said, we can’t help feel that this Word Bully program for smartphone takes the monitoring process a little too far, and in fact could add to the problems of self-esteem that many youngsters feel at home and in school. The software, which runs on Android phones, can be set up to monitor and track the child, and receive a copy of text messages with bully words that are received on the child’s phone.
The idea is the program sends alerts direct to the parent who can then take some sort of action. There’s also a built-in location tracker, to find the child on a map, and, most worryingly, something called Supervised Text, which copies *every* SMS message from the child’s phone to the parent. Does this sound a little over the top to you? It does to us.
Sure it’s great to be able to monitor vulnerable children to prevent any trauma occurring, but on the other hand to have such an invasive look at the child’s life doesn’t seem like a good idea long term. It’s extremely over-protective, and in the hands of the wrong type of helicopter parent could be hugely damaging to the child’s self-esteem.
Anyway, we’re sure that other more intelligent people have their own views on this type of thing, so we’ll just end by saying the software is available for $9.99 from the Amazon Appstore for Android.