Clemson developing app to combat cyberbullying - FOX Carolina 21

Clemson developing app to combat cyberbullying

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CLEMSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Students at Clemson University are working on an app to help in the fight against cyberbullying.

Developers said the app, called VC Defender, would to search photos and videos on social media for signs of cyberbullying.

The app will also examine social media posts and comments to determine if a person is at risk of being bullied and how severely a person is being attacked, according to a news release.

The information would be sent to parents or teachers and offer intervention strategies. Developers said the bullies could also receive messages letting them know how their behavior is hurtful.

"The goal is prevention," said Feng Luo, an associate professor in the School of Computing. "If we have an app that can be used in middle schools or high schools, that could have a big impact."

Robin Kowalski, a professor of psychology at Clemson, said that cyberbullying gives bullies continuous access to their victims and that social media platforms make it easier to launch attacks anonymously. She also said the victims fear reporting the bullying in fear of losing their social media privileges or communication devices.

"Cyberbullying can have a deeper and longer lasting effect than traditional bullying," Kowalski said. "It can result in emotional, psychological and physical problems and poor academic performance.

Kowalski said cyberbullying often begins in adolescence and continues into adulthood.

Developers are using Clemson’s Social Media Listening Center to study cyberbullying attacks and create the criteria their app will use to assess social media posts.

The developmental work is made possible through a grant from the National Science Foundation.

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