Age 13 | Halifax, Nova Scotia
CWSF 2015 Excellence Award: Junior Gold Medal | Advanced Systems Integrator Award: Best “Information” Category Project
This project entailed the development of a web application that consists of an easily accessible and operational bullying reporting system where a bullied victim can confidentially report an incident that has happened to them. After the automated designation of such events, the system provides teachers with an information-centered interface to record any actions that were taken, and also gives them the optional opportunity to place the bully under electronically-probed periodic smart behavior monitoring. Through the appropriate assignment of user rights to the standard levels of administration, filtered reports/statistics describing the nature of bullying happening are provided, along with master data that the teachers can interface with at their own relevance. This app has great potential to help kids who’re constantly suffering from bullying (whether that be physical, verbal or cyber), by providing a trusted place for them to report their incidents knowing an accountable action would be taken as appropriate.
A report released by Statistics Canada (2010), brings to attention the leading causes of death in the country. It states that for youth ages 15-34, suicide is the second most predominant cause of death. Supportive of this, Bullying Statistics (2013) claims that over 14% of high school students have considered suicide as an approach to cope with bullying, and over 7% have attempted it. That amounts to more than 1 in 7 kids thinking about ending their life in this country, and the ones who aren’t, end up falling into depression (Lynnes, 2014).
Additionally, part of the underlying problem lies within the school’s culture of poor accountability, and the huge extent of ignorance that is present even today. On a regular basis nearly 50% of all students avoid making complaints of bullying incidents to teachers (Dryden, 2014), or even consulting any support workers due to embarrassment of the fact that they are physically asking for help, and largely because they would regard their experience as something ‘trivial’.
The purpose of this project is to help schools by providing them with a resource-intensive reporting and tracing system for students who are being bullied or bullying others, by means of a strategically developed web application. This system can help a victim and/or their parents/guardians by allowing them to confidentially report a bullying incident. It would also help a bully’s parents be aware of and better understand the unacceptable nature of their children’s actions. The system could also be leveraged by the school administration for its intuitive integrated database, which plays a key role in keeping accountability of victims and bullies, by gaining auto-derived insights from statistics generated acutely in real-time. It also aids in gauging teachers’ efforts towards bullying incidents in a centralized manner. This will not only be embodied through them taking actions that are accounted for, but also by them monitoring and rating bullies’ behaviors based on insightful leads presented and organized by the system’s intuitively regulated features. Furthermore, it can also help to manage master student/teacher data through appropriate easy-to-use forms.
As seen above, bullying is a prevalent and important issue in Canada’s education system that needs to be addressed, and therefore we must consider how we can ease it.
I believe, a system that is accessible to everyone in a school, that provides an efficient medium through which one could make their bullying issues heard, with assurance that educational administrators would take them seriously, and take into consideration the severity of the bullying, would significantly improve outcomes. Such a system would provide insights, and monitoring capabilities which could reduce bullying behaviors and provide information to assist with the identification of strategies that are most effective in reducing and eliminating bullying, especially if such orchestration is followed up with dynamic statistics generated in real-time.
1. Analyze the school system with the perspective of how a victim will register a complaint.
2. Identify the key data terms to be used in the central architecture.
3. Understand the relationships between these entities.
4. Make the entity relationship diagram (ERD) for the project.
5. Create database tables in phpMyAdmin/adminer as per the analyzed dependencies via the ERD.
6. Input test data in tables to ensure that such dependencies are working.
7. Create a front-end graphic user interface (GUI).
8. Based on the tables and navigation system, create forms with HTML & CSS as the front-end, and PHP & MySQL as the back-end, to allow data inputs through an easy-to-use user interface.
9. Design and deploy an Incident Reporting Form for students/their parents.
10. Design and deploy the Assign an Incident Form for school administrators.
11. Design and deploy an Action Taking Form for teachers.
12. Develop a Behavior Monitoring mechanism.
13. Now with all the functionality working, create a login page, and give appropriate user rights, along with a super user who can manage all these users through the admin panel.
14. Populate the application with false data records to test and demonstrate functionality.
15. Further generate report/statistics, and querying script.
• HTML: For front-end GUI/outlook
• CSS: Used to style webpages
• PHP: Server-side/back-end holds primary logic
• MySQL: For managing/interfacing with the centralized database
• AJAX: Technique used to send data packet to server without sending whole page, preventing its reload
• JQuery: Library utilized to manipulate dependent select menus
• Report an Incident: done by a victim of bullying, after identifying the bully, type of bullying and whether the victim has any mental health issues, also having the option of including text/media (picture/video) upload as descriptive proof of the occurrence. A copy of this report is forwarded to both the victim’s, and bully’s parents via email.
• Assign the Incident: done by a school administrator, in order to allocate the action-taking process to a teacher in the grade, who can handle up to 5 incidents per set period of time. The respective teacher is then notified via email, with full access to the incident details, available on their dashboard.
• Deny the Incident: done by a teacher if they are unavailable or unable to handle. The incident goes back in the queue for the school administrator to re-assign.
• Take An Action: done by a teacher, on one of his/her assigned incidents – teacher is provided by full incident details and options, along with feature to download media provided by the victim (if any) - can also choose to Monitor Behavior of the bully, if the incident seems to be abnormally severe (which induces a warning call to the bully’s parents) – can also deem it best if the incident be followed up or if it was a fake complaint (in which case, the victim gets an “unreliable” status on their profile, with some form of punishment). A report of this action is sent to the school administrator, and to the victim’s, and bully’s parents.
• Monitor Behavior: done by a teacher for a bully they have chosen to monitor, causing need to observe parameters such as, criminological intensity, frequency, sentimental opinion, etc. and an auto-generated rating would be populated for that period represented graphically. These parameters are supported by related incident reports that might influence the decision.
In order to judge this system’s potential to eradicate bullying, I would like to run practical tests on the system in some of the local schools of the district. This would not only help give a clear-cut idea of its feasibility with respect to implementation, while identifying any loopholes, impracticalities, or necessary improvements that need to be made, but also would help identify other potential benefits. The key parameters that I’ll be keeping track of, in order to ensure that the system is working as intended, include, the proper transmission and management of data records, maintaining appropriate confidentiality of data, the manipulation of user rights, precision in the propagation of statistics (to avoid ambiguity), dynamic master form administration, and the generation of behavior ratings. Currently, I am in correspondence with district counsellors to obtain this opportunity to test it in the school system.
In conclusion, this system functions as specified, and could just be the perfect solution to bullying. It provides an ideal environment to report, assign, and take action on incidents, with components such as bullies’ behavior monitoring, and master data management, to support the coherent regularity in the respective relationships and dependencies within the system, all followed up with dynamic statistics. As indicated in my hypothesis, this system provides a very efficient medium through which bullying incidents can be accounted for in a logical and coordinated manner, and ultimately helping to ease bullying. I have confidence in the presumption that this project has a very high potential to solve this relevant problem.
DIFFERENCES B/W PT. 1 & 2
There was a prequel of this project which I created last year. It was a stand-alone database application made in MS Access with very limited back-end functionality, front-end styling, confidentiality, data associations, statistics, levels of administration, and security; requiring impractical dependencies on a dedicated computer. Considering these issues, this system has been re-developed as a professional and fully functional web app (see Table 1).
Statistics Canada - Leading causes of death. (2010, November). Retrieved December 2, 2014, from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/101130/dq101130b-eng.htm
Bullying Statistics - A relative connection of bullying and suicide (2013, July). Retrieved November 18, 2014, from http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/bullying-and-suicide.html
Lyness, D. (Ed.). (2014, April). Bullying Related Suicide. Retrieved December 2, 2014, from https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/bullying-r-suicide.php
Dryden-Edwards, R. (2014, September). Bullying Facts, Effects, Statistics, Types & Prevention. Retrieved December 9, 2014, from https://www.medicinenet.com/bullying/article.htm#what_are_the_effects_of_bullying
Om is a high-school student in Grade 10 in Halifax, NS, Canada, actively embracing STEM to develop his community. He is skilled at numerous technical competencies required to architect/design software & hardware based projects, gained after thorough learning and practical use resulting in successful projects. It’s Om’s deeply embedded passion to excel in what he does, and at this point his main goal in life is to be an unpretentious, helping, and experienced individual, utilizing his project management skills to spark change in the society, while further pursuing his interests in the field.