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iHLS in cooperation with Lighthouse, Israel’s largest startup center led by Amos Talmor, are joining the war against cyber-bullying and adolescent suicidality.
The company will encourage donations to promote the cause of giving adolescents an address to turn to and a practical response when they feel the most helpless and lonely.
The initiative is based on the activity of Red Button, one on the startups participating in the iHLS Accelerator.
Red Button’s technology actually saves lives. Young volunteers at the cyber-bullying scanning unit recently uncovered an Instagram page with more than 800 followers, titled “to push R. to suicide”. Thanks to their action, the page initiated against a 14-year old girl was closed. The young volunteers of Red Button project in collaboration with Kfar Saba Municipality have been scanning the social media looking for violence and bullying cases and report them. As they discovered the page, they reported to the municipality and Red Button organization, which immediately contacted Instagram, and the page was closed within a short time. The girl was located and her life was saved.
According to Yonatan Dukan, the developer of the application, the Red Button’s activity helps thousands of pupils to settle threat situations. As for today, the application saved lives in more than 100 cases. Some 50,000 users have already downloaded this free of charge application or extension to browser, or contacted Red Button via whatsapp, Facebook or its website.
Thanks to the Red Button’s close collaboration with the international security staff of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and many other social platforms, it has been capable of removing instantly offensive posts, close hate groups and delete violent videos from the web. “We don’t wait for someone to report a dangerous post, we constantly search the web by web-crawlers looking for such dangerous posts”.
Adolescents who are target to cyber-bullying suffer harsh distress, helplessness and extreme loneliness. They are under constant pressure because along all the day because returning home from school does not provide any relief from the 24/7 harassments. “About 40% of the children in Israel at the age of 9-14 are cyber-bullied during a school year”, says Yonatan Dukan. “Despite of the scale of this phenomenon, most victims refrain from turning to an adult for assistance, and try to cope with the threat all by themselves.”
Red Button is an innovative non-profit initiative, which tackles cyber-bullying and digital abuse, provides essential support to the victims and their families and offers long-term support to those who struggle to rebuild their lives. Red Button refers them to professional support financed by the organization until they are able to return to routine activities.
The project’s approach is based on its own development of the Red Button application and browser add-on, that enable cyber-bullying victims to turn for assistance, immediately and anonymously. The organization is also active in the efforts to prevent suicidality among adolescents in general. The networks are constantly scanned and posts reflecting suicidality are immediately reported to the police.
In addition, Red Button founded an instruction array for adolescents, designed to prevent such incidents in the future.