‘Concerned’ UK dad develops world’s first Facebook bully alert

April 8th, 2011 - 12:23 pm ICT by ANI  

Facebook London, April 8 (ANI): A UK father has devised the world’s first bullying alert system for Facebook, which scans text and flags up abusive behaviour.

NHS consultant Paddy Clarke’s software scans walls and inboxes for trigger words and phrases such as ‘gay’ and ‘fat’ and alerts parents when they appear, reports the Daily Mail.

The father-of-four came up with the idea after reading a string of cyber-bullying horror stories.

The 48-year-old said he hoped his system - called ‘Know Diss’ - would keep children safe from online bullies.

“Know Diss is a very simple concept. It is also a partnership between parent and child because one cannot sign up without the other,” he said.

Clarke, a consultant at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital in Gloucester, joined forces with friend Alan Saul to design and implement ‘Know Diss’, which costs 12 pounds for a yearly subscription.

Together they trawled through sites such as Urban Dictionary and watched the television series ‘Skins’ to build their comprehensive database of insults.

His program continuously searches through all text on Facebook accounts signed up to the service, including messages, picture comments and posts.

It uses a database of several thousands of words to identify bullying trigger words in a number of spelling variations.

Parents and their children must both sign up by email for the software to work. The child is then sent a link for them to click in order to download Know Diss.

When a bullying phrase is detected, it is copied and immediately emailed to the child’s parent or ‘Facebook guardian’ who can decide whether further action is needed.

An example of a ‘bullying’ phrase which would be picked up by the system is: ‘Go slash your wrists, fat boy’ or words such as ‘gay boy’.

When triggered, Know Diss automatically sends an email to the parent which reads: “The following text has been picked up on your child’s Facebook account. Go and have a look at it.” (ANI)

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