Menu

Education Today Logo


newsletter

Education Today Cover Browse Issue

Cyberbullies tracked and smashed with new tool

News Image

Nasty personal attacks on social media networks like Instagram can be tracked and smashed with a new digital tool.

Developed by CU Boulder's CyberSafety Research Center, the software combines several different computing tools to scan massive amounts of social media data, sending alerts to parents or network administrators that abuse has occurred.

The approach uses five times less computing resources than existing tools and that's efficient enough to monitor a network the size of Instagram for a modest investment in server power.

The group who produced the initiative have released a free app for Android phones that allows parents to receive alerts when their kids are the objects of bullying on Instagram called BullyAlert.

The team first employed real humans to teach a computer program how to separate harmless online comments from abuse and then designed a system that filters the benign from the mean.

When a user uploads a new post, the group's tools make a quick scan of the comments. If those comments look questionable, then that post gets high priority to receive further checks. But if the comments all seem charitable, then the system bumps the post to the bottom of its queue.

The approach was tested on real-world data from Vine, a now-defunct video-sharing platform, and Instagram because they make their data publicly available.

The toolset can monitor traffic on Vine and Instagram in real-time, detecting cyberbullying behavior with 70% accuracy.


18 Jul 2018 | National
94% of Indigenous boarding students complete Year 12 News Image

It looks like sending Indigenous students to boarding schools is one of the more successful programs to address deficits in indigenous opportunity and career and life outcomes. Read More

18 Jul 2018 | National
Malware attacks most common at school return News Image

The return from school holidays can be a drag in a number of ways but the most damaging is the threat of malware attacks. Often staff and students bring in a device that's been infected at home. Read More

17 Jul 2018 | Victoria
$5000 for inclusive education equipment in Vic News Image

Victorian schools will receive an additional $5000 to invest in specialised equipment and assistive technology that supports students with disabilities and additional learning needs. Read More

17 Jul 2018 | NSW
Theatre and science come together to boost littlies in STEM News Image

What do you get when a leading medical research facility and an internationally acclaimed theatre company work together? World leading STEM resources. Read More

16 Jul 2018 | National
How can kids dodge national debt disaster? News Image

We’re awash with debt, deluged by it; one in six Australians is struggling with credit card debt and we’re around second in the world when it comes to private debt. Something needs to be done. Read More