Local teen develops the “BullyBox” app as cyberbullying escalates

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PENDLETON, Ind. (WISH) – A new study shows the number of kids who have witnessed cyberbullying has tripled since last year.

The Internet Security Company, McAfee, conducted a study called “Teens and the Screen.” It revealed that 87 percent of kids have seen some form of cyberbullying and 26 percent are victims. Now, a Pendleton teen has created an app called The BullyBox to put a stop to it.

Cyber Bullying is nothing new. But, it’s certainly not a thing of the past.

“I would say almost every kid I’ve talked to, or client, something has come up negatively

The McAfee study shows that appearance is by far the most targeted area of bullying at 72 percent followed by race or religion at 26percent and sexuality at 22percent. They are public attacks nearly impossible to ignore.

“You can leave an outing with a friend. The school day is going to be over at a certain time. But, internet access is 24/7,” said, said Indianapolis Clinical Psychologist, Alisa Faust-Halle.

And more often than not, the bullying goes unreported.

“A lot of times, speaking up against bullying is perceived as being negative. You lose your cool status,” said Pendleton Heights Junior Brandon Boynton.

In junior high, there was a physical bully box in Boynton’s school’s hallway. But, he noticed that it was always empty.

“One day it just hit me and I was like, ‘Wow, there are so many people go into this issue, no one wants to actually go up and put a physical piece of paper in the box because it’s typically in a very populated area of the hallway and people are going to see you. It’s not really anonymous. And I thought, why don’t I make an app that allows people to do it on their phone where anybody around thinks you’re sending a text or a tweet,” said Boynton.

In response, Boynton came up with an app to make reporting bullying anonymous. It’s called the Bully Box. In seconds, a victim or witness can take a screen grab, fill in a few blanks and send it off without a trace.

“And then the administrator receives that screen shot so they can see exactly what’s happening on that Instagram account without actually following them or even having an Instagram.”

Boynton is in D.C. presenting his app at the 6th annual Saunders Scholars Finals in Washington D.C. He developed the app while attending the Madison County Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy. He’s now competing against five others for a scholarship and priceless opportunities. But, money isn’t his driving force.

“If the application saves one life or if it prevents one wrist from being cut then it’s a success.”

Schools pay a fee to receive the reports. The app is free for students to download. Boynton tells 24 Hour News 8 at least one local school is considering the investment.

Boynton will find out Thursday if he won the competition.

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