A Solution to Combat Cyber-Bullying
The project brief or the aim of this challenge is to design a solution to help parents and/or kids to combat cyber-bullying.
Project Duration: 48 Hours
Because of the nature of this challenge and the limited time assigned to it, the concept and the final design proposal is solely based on quick secondary research and personal intuition wherever needed.
Developing and writing down Framing questions is important before starting research. It helps to focus on different aspects of research and identifying all the stakeholders in a project. It also helps to investigate different perspectives while conducting ethnographic research and documenting user behaviors.
What Is cyber-bullying and what does it exactly mean?
What are the types of cyber-bullying?
Why does it happen and what are the causes?
Who are the stakeholders and what are the motivational values that drive them?
What are their needs and pain points?
What are the consequences of cyber-bullying?
What are the known methods of preventing cyber-bullying?
How is cyber-bullying usually handled by authorities / parents / adults / society / children?
What are the known solutions of combat against cyber-bullying in the market?
What are the existing policies against cyber-bullying?
How are people made aware about cyber-bullying? Is it enough?
How to support a victim of cyber-bullying? What are the resources needed?
Building context around the research areas and backing it up with data is very important to ground the research done and build on after taking into consideration every available perspective of the problem. For Secondary Research, I referred the following links and online resources in order to extract data, and widen the scope of the research.
What is Cyber-Bullying?
Online Harassing, or A form of Bullying using electronic means
Cyber-bullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyber-bullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyber-bullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyber-bullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.
What are it's consequences?
Lower Self-Esteem, Depression, Lack of Sleep, Mental Disorders, Anxiety, etc
Cyber-bullying is an intense form of psychological abuse, whose victims are more than twice as likely to suffer from mental disorders compared to traditional bullying. The effects of cyber-bullying vary, but research illustrates that cyber-bullying adversely affects youth to a higher degree than adolescents and adults. Youth are more likely to suffer since they are still growing mentally and physically. Kids that are bullied are likely to experience anxiety, depression, loneliness, unhappiness and poor sleep. Most of the time cyber-bullying goes unnoticed; the younger generation hides their bullying from anyone that can help to prevent the bullying from occurring and from getting worse
How do people fight it?
Notice, Talk, Document, Report, and Support
Cyber-bullying is a form of bullying, and adults should take the same approach to address it: support the child being bullied, address the bullying behavior of a participant, and show children that cyber-bullying is taken seriously. Because cyber-bullying happens online, responding to it requires different approaches. Adults have to notice the signs of bullying in their children, talk to them and investigate the incident, document all the tangible proof of cyber-bullying and report it to authorities, and finally take measures to support the child at every step.
Mapping out all the stakeholders identified for this project through secondary research was the next step. It was important to consider every perspective, all their pain points, and motivations before analyzing the data for insights and developing opportunity spaces.
Identifying Motivations and Pain Points
After all the stakeholders were identified and mapped out, it was necessary to identify their motivations, and needs behind their specific behaviors and actions. This provided better insight and context to the research conducted. Finally, all the pain points and difficulties of each stakeholder was studied in detail.
Insight: Drama vs. Bullying
It's important to differentiate between 'drama' and bullying. What adults define as cyber-bullying, kids might just simply term it as 'drama' from time to time.
Parents and other adults have difficulty knowing when their child is being cyber-bullied and usually take extreme precautions to fight against it, causing distrust and privacy invasion in the eyes of the child, especially a teenager. This happens usually because it's hard to differentiate between bullying and what teens term as 'harmless drama', which is usually an acceptable norm in today's times of hyper-connectivity.
Opportunity: Trust the teens to decide
A fabulous solution would be to empower the teens with the means to fight cyber-bullying, but trust them to decide when and if necessary.
Target Users and Needs
To establish the Target User for the design, and to flush out the final concept thoroughly, it was useful to create a detailed persona for the same. Personas are fabricated fictional user profiles developed to explain a design and convey a realistic story and emotionally driven behaviors.
Persona 1: The Teenager
Occupation: High-School Student
Ava is a easy-going but shy girl who keeps to herself. She is a brilliant student and the topper of her class, likes to study during lunch hours. She recently randomly started receiving threatening texts and chat messages from unknown people accusing her of being stupid, untrustworthy, and sexual slurs. She cannot figure out why this is happening to her and starts to panic and beg the people to stop it. But the harassing continues.
Being sensitive and introverted, this is extremely traumatic for her and she tries to avoid going in public or being social. She also slowly starts falling into depression.
Try to stop this bullying from happening and make it all go away. Shut herself from everything and avoid being in public.
Image used for representational purposes only
Concept 'Be Bold'
'Be Bold' urges the teens to be strong and brave. It allows them to report and anonymously expose the people bullying them, and also take legal action if necessary. Additionally, it utilizes the internet's power to inform and spread awareness, connect them to experts and professionals, psychologists and other empowering people to help them during their 'dark days'. It also gives them access to a forum, and a support community of people to help them get through the current phase.
THE INTERACTION FLOW-DIAGRAM
The 'Be Bold' app has three main screens, namely the 'Resource Screen' which provides limitless resources for the teenagers and the app users, the 'Support Screen' which provides instant connection to people, professionals, and an online support forum via texts and calls, and the 'Share / Add Screen', which helps to share any documentation proof of the cyber-bullying incident publicly or privately through the forum. It also has an 'Emergency Screen' which provides emergency contacts and links.
THE 'RESOURCE' SCREEN
This Home Screen provides invaluable resources to the users. The 'All' tab displays a mix of articles, publications, tips, and events happening, whereas the 'Events' tab displays information about events happening near the user.
Together, both the tabs act to spread awareness among teens about cyber-bullying and other forms of harassment.