St. Louisans build app to fight bullying, abuse

A few St. Louisans have an idea they hope will help out some victims in need of aid.

A new mobile app is looking to take a bite out of domestic assault and bullying.

St. Louisans Brian Rohlfing, Michael Lang and Derek Haake are apart of the team that put together the app: "Stop Harassing Me Now".

The app gives users the option to record phone calls from people who are harassing them. The person on the other end of the phone is alerted that the message will be recorded before it is ultimately secured on the Cloud. Users can also save texts and photos for evidence purposes later in the future.

Brian Rohlfing said he was inspired to create the app following an incident that happened 30 years ago. He said a man called his home and did not receive a response. Rohlfing said the man thought he had hung up the phone, but actually did not. Rohlfing said when he reviewed the messages on his answering machine, he could hear that man on the other line abusing his wife.

"It's been a fire in my belly to try to figure out a way to try to make that tape hers, or the person that is the victim," he said.

The group's co-founders say they tried to make the app easy and simple to use. They hope it could even deter aggressive offenders from bothering their victims in the future.

"It's really important that it be convenient because people can be in a situation when they are looking at their phone and nervous that somebody's calling them," Lang said.

Tina Meier works as the executive director of the Megan Meier foundation. She has worked to raise awareness about bullying ever since her daughter Megan took her own life in 2006; she was the victim of an adult cyberbully's hoax .

"We always tell kids, always save the evidence," she said. "Screen capture everything, so you can be able to prove or show when somebody is sending threatening messages."

Meier added that no app can be a cure-all for bullying. She said it's always possible that a person can take an app and use it in a negative way, but she believes it's still important that families know about all of the options that are out there.

"Talk to their kids about what to do, how to be able to respond," she said. "Let them know about apps like this to be able to give them some control and some power."

The app is already available on Android devices. The team behind the app says it is working as quickly as possible to get the program iPhones.


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