A new anti-bullying app available on Google Play is the brain child of a handful of St. Louis dads. The Stop Harassing Me Now app, which is also designed to combat domestic violence, records flagged calls and texts and stores them in a secure database in case they are needed as evidence.
Hazelwood native Brian Rohlfing was inspired to make the app by a disturbing recording left on his home answering machine some thirty years ago. The caller didn’t hang up the phone before beating his wife.
“It was just a horrifying experience to stand there and listen to all that,” Rohlfing said. “When I took it to the police … they told me I should not get involved. That the tape was not mine, and I should destroy it because it’s up to her to follow through. And that has haunted me for many years.”
The Stop Harassing Me Now app is specifically designed to document abuse so that it is admissible in court as evidence if needed, including letting callers know they are being recorded. One of the co-creators, Derek Haake, is an attorney.
“I truly hope that most people when they hear that this is being considered harassment they say on the tape recording I am so sorry, this is a misunderstanding and I won’t contact you again,” Rohlfing said. “But when people continue to call, this is time-stamped; it shows an order of exactly when they called.”
Whether in the case of extreme domestic violence or a child being bullied, Rohlfing sees the app as a tool to bring more people to the table when boundaries need to be set.
“I feel like it’s very important for a principal or a teacher to kind of know what’s going on. So I look at it as an empowerment tool for this one child,” Rohlfing said. “I would as a father never be afraid to knock on the door of a parent and say hey you really need to hear what your son just said to my daughter. This is being recorded and we need this out front that he shouldn’t talk that way.”
According to Rohlfing, individuals can also upload screenshots of social media to the app’s storage cloud.
The app is only available on Android devices at the moment. Rohfling said his company is working to get the access necessary to expand to Apple. Once downloaded, a user can flag numbers to track. Users can also request a new number be tracked mid-call if necessary. It’s free to download and costs $2.98 a month to use.
Follow Camille Phillips on Twitter: @cmpcamille.