Cyberbullying: Media Lab and MTV Respond with “Over the Line?” App

by Nancy DuVergne Smith on September 27, 2011

in In the News, Media, Public Service

Media Lab researchers are using the tools of technological innovation to tackle an old problem, bullying, in a new arena, cyberspace.

Watch a video of White House comments on working together to end bullying as an accepted practice and create a safer environment for children

Watch a 14-minute White House video on the joint effort to end bullying as an accepted practice.

In March, Henry Lieberman ʼ75, head of the Media Lab’s Software Agents research group, along with graduate students Karthik Dinakar and Birago Jones, joined President and Mrs. Obama and cabinet members at the White House for a Conference on Bullying Prevention.

One result is a new Web and iPhone app—developed by MTV and the Media Lab—called Over the Line? The software allows young people to share and rate personal stories of how technology is complicating social interactions, according to an Information Week Government article. People can share their stories via the application and others are invited to weigh in on whether the interaction has crossed the cyberbullying line.

“More than 9,000 users have submitted stories that have generated 325,000 ratings, information that stakeholders said is valuable in learning about the digital ethics of today’s youth, according to the [White House blog] post.

“To this end, MIT is using finds from data compiled from Over the Line? to help develop fast and effective responses to cyberbullying and try to prevent incidents before they happen…. MTV and MIT also are encouraging other researchers to learn by studying this data.”

Learn more about Over the Line and Ruminati: Tackling Cyberbullying with Computational Empathy, a research project of the Software Agents website.

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