Blackboard Inc. has launched TipTxt™, a two-way texting service that encourages students to confidentially notify school officials of activity related to bullying or school safety. Already used by hundreds of schools around the world, the service is expected to be a powerful tool for both primary and high schools in Australia to use in anti- bullying efforts.
TipTxt is a tipline that allows for confidential text conversations between students and school officials about challenges that students experience such as bullying and issues that relate to bullying, including abuse, self-esteem or confidence problems. Armed with this insight, school officials can provide resources, advice or other follow-up to help on a case-by- case basis. The students' anonymity is preserved from their peers.
Karaba High School in Queanbeyan, Southern NSW, which will become the first school in Australia to use TipTxt.
Acting principal Colin Devitt says, 'Some students may feel more comfortable using text messages rather than having a face-to-face meeting. Using a technology already available to alert school officials without having to be in their presence or be seen is a very effective means of communication and it could really help prevent bullying."
Blackboard CEO Jay Bhatt says, 'The vast majority of students already have a bullying prevention tool in their pocket – we just need to give them a way to use it. Helping them communicate with trusted adults in the same way they communicate with each other helps increase the likelihood of engagement. Just as we strive to give students a voice in the classroom, we also want to give them a voice in the hallways, on the playground, and in the lunchroom."
The service comes with a TipTxt mailbox and implementation and support services. The TipTxt service also includes the cost of text messages.
For more information about TipTxt for ELC-Year 12 schools or other institutions, please visit http://connect.blackboard.com/TipTxtAus
Blackboard Inc. is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day. Blackboard's solutions allow thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate, and government organisations to extend teaching and learning online, facilitate campus commerce and security, and communicate more effectively with their communities. Founded in 1997, Blackboard is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
Standard text rates may apply for parent or student TipTxt message senders; they should consult their carrier plans for details. TipTxt uses standard text messaging and may be subject to the security vulnerabilities of any other text message sent to, or received by, the user's mobile device.
Fast facts on bullying in schools.
One student in every four in Australian schools is affected by bullying, says recent research commissioned by the Federal Government.
Kids who are bullied are three times more likely to show depressive symptoms, says the Centre for Adolescent Health.
An estimated 200 million children and youth around the world are being bullied by their peers, according to the 2007 Kandersteg Declaration Against Bullying in Children and Youth.
Children who were bullied were up to nine times more likely to have suicidal thoughts, say some studies.
Girls who were victims of bullying in their early primary school years were more likely to remain victims as they got older, according to British research.
Children who were frequently bullied by their peers were more likely to develop psychotic symptoms in their early adolescence, says more UK research.
Girls were much more likely than boys to be victims of both cyber and traditional bullying, says a recent Murdoch Children's Research Institute study.
Children as young as three can become victims of bullying, says Canadian research.
Young people who bully have a one in four chance of having a criminal record by the age of 30. Bullying is the fourth most common reason young people seek help from children's help services.