This article originally appeared on Education Technology Insights. Click here to view the original article
Even after being a successful entrepreneur, with more than two decades of experience in multiple C-level roles across different industries, Jeffery Ervine was the target of an extremely severe type of online defamation that was an act of revenge by a criminal who he helped convict. The impact was huge—destroyed his professional carrier, negatively affected his social life and the lives of the ones that are close to him. Ervine won a multi-million judgment based on U.S. defamation law and directed Google to remove the defamatory site and posts from its search. While solving his defamation problem, he developed a unique understanding of the power of today’s social technology to do permanent, life-changing harm. Ervine figured out that the only way to address online bullying and harassment in schools (or in any community) is by identifying potential problems early before they morph into real incidents of bullying, harassment or abuse. This is what led him to found Bridg-it. The company has developed a technology platform that brings the whole community together to create a culture of safety and wellness in schools. Through the inputs from community, the platform alerts, tracks, records and notifies the respected authorities in case of bullying, cyberbullying, sexting, school violence, and depression/self-harm. “I wanted to tackle the bitter side of social technology with its positive side,” remarks Ervine, who also heads the company as its CEO.
Bridg-it platform can be implemented by the schools in no time and allows students, parents, and staff to report any untoward incidents accurately, instantly and discreetly from any webenabled device. “Bridg-it’s solution helps magnify the viewpoint of the school, as now the authorities have the eyes of the community to detect and address any incidents,” quips Ervine. He explains this further with an analogy. Take an instance of a school with 1000 students, 2000 parents, and 100 teachers; now collectively it is more than 6000 eyes.
“A victim can disappear from the eyes of a person but not from the whole community," remarks Ervine. In this way, the victimized students are easily identified and helped before the problem gets bigger. Moreover, often people fear to get involved in other’s problems as they do not want to be the next target. But with Bridg-it, a bystander can transform into up-stander and act in the shadow of their platform as data stored in it is highly confidential. Best of the all it rescues not only the victim but also the offenders by making them realize their fault and repent for their behavior.
Also, Bridg-it offers sophisticated analytics that provides insight into a school's climate, arming administrators and faculty with data to measure the impact of their anti-bullying initiatives and analyze trends within the community. Additionally, the data gives them the ability to minimize the impact of threatening situations and address harmful behaviors before they become widespread throughout the school.
Student’s success is not only defined by their academics but also by their emotional growth. Bridg-it offers an additional platform called SEL (Social Emotional Learning) which is the process of acquiring the knowledge, skills, and attitudes related to social awareness, selfawareness, self-management, responsible decision making and relationship skills. With SEL students can understand different perspectives and so when time gets hard, students can tackle and overcome themselves without any aid.
Forging ahead, Bridg-it is currently on the move to expand its product in the U.S and later globally in the next 3 to 5 years. They also have the forethought to include other languages in addition to Spanish, French, Japanese and Russian. Furthermore, Bridg-it is also planning to extend their roots to other communities settings as well, to make them healthier and safer.