An overwhelming majority of parents say schoolchildren would be more likely to report bullying if they could do so without fear of being identified – and would support schools bringing in online systems that allow anonymous reporting.
More than four in five British parents (86%) agree pupils would be more comfortable reporting that they or a friend were being bullied if they could do so anonymously, according to the ComRes poll. And almost exactly the same amount (85%) said they would support schools who introduced an online anti-bullying platform where pupils could make anonymous reports to the school.
The poll is released as a new online anti-bullying web platform called Speak UP! – which allows pupils to anonymously report instances of bullying – is launched in the UK.
Speak UP!, a web platform that allows pupils to anonymously report instances of bullying and other disrespectful behaviour, is already operating across dozens of schools in Sweden, where it was first launched, and the US, where it is being deployed to over 15,000 students across 24 schools. Headteachers in the UK are adopting Speak UP! at the same time as the platform is launching in India, Japan, Germany and France. Safe and anonymous digital reporting has revolutionized how institutions combat disrespectful and unlawful behaviour, transforming the way students report and resolve such incidents. Because such technology allows pupils to report without fear of retaliation, an online platform will not only encourage higher rates of incident reporting at the onset, but will also create a natural deterrent to dangerous behaviour in the long-term.
“The goal of Speak UP! is to give students all over the world a voice and together with parents and schools they learn to battle this global epidemic”
Supported by the global technology and services giant SourceHOV, Speak UP! is currently offered to primary and secondary schools as well as sixth forms and universities.
Tobias Wernius, Global Development Manager of Speak UP!, announced: “The goal of Speak UP! is to give students all over the world a voice and together with parents and schools they learn to battle this global epidemic.”
With the Speak UP! app, students can anonymously report bullying via their smartphone, tablet or desktop computer. Reports are sent direct to a school’s central dashboard, allowing counsellors and associated staff to review and respond in real-time.
Speak UP! also allows the user to report the location, time and type of bullying (for example, bullying in the playground at lunchtime) and to support their report with a picture or video. Additionally, they can upload screenshots of any unpleasant text or social media messages, helping to tackle cyberbullying.
With bullying increasingly an online problem, ComRes’s poll found that 72% of parents agreed it would be helpful for schoolchildren to be able to provide evidence of bullying with pictures or screenshots when they are reporting incidents of bullying in school, whether about themselves or others. Some 81% of parents agreed that bullying was “increasingly an online problem”.
The platform has other powerful case studies. In light of recent events, the role of anonymous reporting in counter-extremism is more relevant than ever. Speak UP! enables students to anonymously report concerns that they or a friend may have been approached by an extremist group.
Tobias Wernius added: “Whatever the issue, students can now Speak UP! Our platform gives students a tool to proactively report issues and a voice to stand up for themselves and their peers.”