President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama took a firm stance against online bullying in a video posted Wednesday on Facebook.
“This isn’t an issue that makes headlines every day, but it affects every single young person in our country,” Obama said in the video.
The message comes on the heels of the White House’s Bullying Prevention summit tomorrow Thursday, which will bring together students, teachers, parents and experts to discuss ways to stop bullying. The full conference schedule is online at www.stopbullying.gov.
Online bullying is a problem that affects almost half of all American teens, according to the National Crime Prevention Council. In a recent survey conducted by the Cyberbullying Research Center, 20 percent of middle-school students admitted to “seriously thinking about attempting suicide” as a result of online bullying.
The Obamas said that as parents, they have a personal investment in combating the growing problem.
“It’s something that we care about not only as president and first lady, but also as parents,” Michelle Obama said. “It’s tough enough being a kid today, and our children deserve the chance to learn and grow without constantly being picked on, made fun of, or worse.”
While the White House summit will discuss strategies against bullying, a British-based company called Crisp Thinking is already using advanced technology to help keep popular Web destinations such as social networks and online gaming platforms safe from the threat of cyberbullies and online predators.
Crisp Thinking melds behavioral science and technology in its relationship analysis engine, which analyzes patterns in Web communications (including syntax and language styles) to detect the nature of an online relationship and whether or not a party is being bullied. Crisp also employs reputation analysis technology that informs Web users when their behavior is turning into bullying, and kicks them offline when they don’t clean up their act.
“We applaud the White House for calling attention to this problem so children and their parents can enjoy the Internet without fear or intimidation,” said Crisp founder and CEO Adam Hildreth.
Hildreth, in the U.S. as part of the entrepreneurial conference Web Mission 2011 (hosted by UK Trade & Investment and the Technology Strategy Board), told SecurityNewsDaily that as more and more teens communicate via the Internet, the need for online bullying protection grows.
“The more we can inform people, the more likely they are to stop doing that bad behavior and adhere to the rules,” Hildreth told SecurityNewsDaily.