Blocking bullies with an app


Essence Lewis

Social Sitter website home page.

In this day and age it is very common for young people to fill their time on technology, but shockingly 7 out 10 of those young people are victims of cyberbullying.

Michele Joel from Tucson, AZ developed the app, Social Sitter, which launched on app stores January 9, 2015. Social Sitter in the app store is described as “a patented, real-time social media filter created to facilitate responsible social media communication.”

The Social Sitter website describes how it works:

1. Someone posts an update on one of your social media pages during work hours, it’s your job to monitor user content on your brand pages in accordance with your brand guidelines and social media policy. When you’re off the clock, Social Sitter monitors the content for you.

2. Our team checks the update and categorizes it for your review and action.
High risk content will be flagged for your immediate review, and you will be alerted by SMS within 15 minutes of anything appearing on your page. Other content is categorized as “OK” (no action taken), “General response” (an after hours message is posted – coming soon!), or “Offensive” (content deleted). We have a standard moderation policy, or we can produce a custom version for you.

3. You rest easy knowing someone is always watching over your virtual children.
Additionally, at the end of every shift (each morning) an Australian team member reviews all content moderated, as part of our ongoing dedication to quality improvement.

Not only does the app send alerts when a post is negative it also rewards users for positive posts. When a post is positive the child will receive tokens they can collect then spend on gift cards. This works as positive reinforcement.

In addition to detecting both negativity and positivity, Social Sitter also detects signs of depression.

According to, “Teen depression is common: by the end of their teen years, 20% will have had depression.”  Depression can lead to suicide, which is the second leading cause of death in 15 – 20 year olds.

Normal West technology teacher Dan Higby weighed in his thoughts to the matter, “Cyber bullying is not a good thing, but people also need tougher skin because I don’t think it’ll go away so we need to learn to cope better.”

Some view this app as an invasion of privacy because parents are able to see what their child do on social media, but some view it as an important resource.

When told how the app works Higby stated, “Anytime a parent is more involved it is more positive than negative. The best part of this app is having students more aware of what they are posting and who they affect. Privacy is a privilege so it just has to be dealt with if the privilege is lost.”

There are multiple plans available to use on Social Sitter, including one used for schools. Each individual account would be for each staff
at the school.

With the ability to view macro heat-maps of technology use, Social Sitter will also notify schools of urgent threats.

As students at Normal West, the option of using Social Sitter as a resource could be widely explored to further better the school.

Thousands of people are using Social Sitter has the potential to be a great resource that can be used to prevent cyber bullying.