“Did You Know?”…there are so many aspects to making an app?

SOCIAL INTERACTION

Especially in between the ages of 11 and 24, the social interaction, interpersonal or virtual, between each other is very active. There is always someone on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., or there is constant gossip and chatter in the high school hallways. Since “cyberbullying has become a worldwide phenomenon, with growing occurrences every year [and] it occurs mostly during early adolescence” (Olenik-Semesh 2015 p. 147), the interpersonal connection between adolescents has geared away from, but not completely eliminating completely, to the “cyber community.” According to Humphreys (2012) “civility is characterized by a general lack of intimacy and personal information, which on grand scales of public interaction would be burdensome” (p. 497). The “lack of intimacy” that Humphreys mentions can be seen in the non-interpersonal relationships that adolescents do not have due to the constant development of technologies everyday. Their attention is quickly turned to the new technology, lessening the use of intimate, interpersonal activity and intimacy between adolescents with each other and with adults.

Since the app that I am creating “Did You Know?” addresses the fact that cyberbullying occurs in school, and informs adults, advisors and parents of the situation as it occurs, it is an app that is not as socially interactive as Facebook or Twitter. “Did You Know?” is socially active in the media world in the sense that it is the communication between student/bully to student/victim to adult/advisor/parent/authority. This type of communication is private in the sense that the people who are getting the notifications of the occurrences do not know who the victim is. Humphreys (2015) implies that “the act of communicating through mobile social media suggests that one is potentially perceived by others physically co-present as well as those virtually co-present” (p. 407) The purpose of the app is to raise awareness, no to make the bullies and victim social with each other.

MOBILITY

As mentioned earlier in the App/Tech Concept, one of the causes is the constant use of technology among young adults and adolescents; the app would only be used during class and in school. With the idea that mobile media is inescapable in the future, schools may be implicating mobile devices in the classrooms – encouraging students to familiarize themselves with technology and what the (good) power it may have, especially when it comes to the classroom, and in the future, the workplace. Since this would be an app that would be mandatory for all students to use in order to receive a specific grade in a subject (i.e. social studies), the idea of the mobility of this app is very active. Since media, and the way we perceive and receive information has become so mobile, lives have also become increasingly mobile. On the topic of mobility, according to Kakihara and Sorensen (2012), “the concept of mobility, which manifests such a transformation of our social lives combining new and old technologies” (p. 33). Relating to the app, the combination of the old technology: “John made fun of Jane’s hair, so John told the teacher”, with the new technology: tablets, cell phones, etc. equals the app: “Did You Know?” By combining these two technologies, the “middle man” is taken out and the feeling of inferiority of “tattle-tailing” is eliminated.

In the case of cyberbullying, mobility is significant to this matter. Since cyberbullying is within the virtual community, the mobility of the actual bullying is just as mobile as the device itself. Kakihara and Sorensen argue that “that ‘being mobile’ is not just a matter of people traveling but, far more importantly, related to the interaction they perform — the way in which they interact with each other in their social lives” (p. 33). The interaction that they speak of implies the social interaction aspect of it, but in the case of applying the mobility concept to “Did You Know?”, since there is not face-to-face social interaction the mobility through cyberspace is much more accessible.

Since cyberbullying takes its matters through the social and media that occurs online, the space that it travels through is through the “cyber community” that is “computer-mediated communication among people, geographical distance no longer remains a fundamental aspect of the interaction — the boundary between ‘here’ and ‘there’ dissolves” (Kakihara & Sorensen 2012, p. 34). There is not a necessary question of “where” since the incidents happen through space. Conversely, the question of “who” and “why” is the question that should be asked, hence the reason of the development of “Did You Know?”

SURVEILLENCE

“Did You Know?” not only raises awareness of cyberbullying, this is a type of technology that looks over the students’ and victim’s safety. Contrary to “Facebook stalking” this type of surveillance is anonymous in the honor of the victim being bullied. Marwick (2012) suggests that “social surveillance clearly differs from traditional surveillance, to the point where some might question whether it is surveillance at all” (Marwick, p. 381). The app takes information that the victims report and informs the adults, authorities, parents that there is cyberbullying activity happening around their child, thus forcing or recommending that they take action to speak to their child in the form that they suggest is most effective. Similar to what “Did You Know?” does with collecting information, Marwick argues that “social media companies like Facebook aggregate and collect personal data provided by users, a process sometimes called “dataveillance” or “actuarial surveillance” (Marwick 2012, p. 379).

LOCATION

When an incident occurs, the app does not target location – it is simply a notification that there is cyberbullying activity happening within that environment. Though it may seem that because it is based in a place, activity happens in that specific place or school area because advisors of the app are only within the school/district that has requested to have the technology mandatory in their systems. Unlike Foursquare, there is no GPS locator. According to Gazzard (2011), “Foursquare is a location-based application created by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai…[where] users of the application have to create a profile online much like other social networking sites, and then have access to a GPS enabled phone to use the service” (p. 407) Since all the victims are anonymous, the app does not “find” you – the purpose is so that the victim anonymous so that the victim does not feel inferior to reporting the incident.


Sources

  • Gazzard, Alison. (2011). “Location, location, location: collecting space and place in mobile media.” Convergence. 17(4): p. 405-417
  • Heiman, T., & Olenik-Shemesh, D. (2015). Cyberbullying Experience and Gender Differences Among Adolescents in Different Educational Settings. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 48(2), 146-155.
  • Humphreys, Lee. (2012). “Connecting, Coordinating, Cataloguing: Communicative Practices on Mobile Social Networks,” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 56:4, 494-510
  • Kakihara, Masao & Sorensen, Carsten. (2001). Expanding the ‘Mobility’ Concept. SIGGROUP Bulletin, 22(3), 33-37.
  • Marwick, Alice. (2012). “Public Domain: Surveillance in everyday life.” Surveillance & Society. 9(4): 378-393.
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