Kids Making a Difference: Cyberbullying
25 percent of teenagers report that they have experienced repeated cyberbullying via their cell phone or on the internet, according to Nobullying.com. With statistics like that, it is even more encouraging when we read stories about kids who are taking a stand and trying to make a difference. Today we share with you two stories of innovative teens who are trying to create solutions to cyberbullying.
13-Year Old Google Science Fair Finalist’s Idea to Stop Cyberbullying
Trisha Prabhu may only be 13-years-old but she is a force to be reckoned with. Her innovative anti-cyberbullying idea is for a tool that will cause teens and tweens to think before they post hurtful comments. This project won her a spot as one of Google’s 15 Global Science Fair finalists.
Business Insider explained that the science behind Prabhu’s project is based on the fact that teens are impulsive. Due to their brain structure, teens are more likely than adults to post harmful comments without thinking about the consequences. The article explains that the prefrontal cortex is not fully developed until age 25 – which plays into the lack of self-control teenager’s experience.
Rethink is the system Prabhu created to test her hypothesis that if teens were required to take a moment to think before they post, they would not actually post a mean comment. According to the Huffington Post, “Her project sought to reduce rates of cyberbullying among teens by creating an alert system that would ask teens to rethink their actions before posting anything harmful online.” Prabhu conducted 533 trials and 93.43% of the students decided not to post the comment when they were forced to think about it longer.
The Business Insider report states, “Now that she has successfully tested her hypothesis, Prabhu wants to create a real product that could work with social media sites and apps that would filter messages that were potentially mean or hurtful, and alert senders to take an extra second to think before posting.” In her project description, Prabhu wrote, “I am looking forward to a future where we have conquered cyberbullying!”
Sister and Brother Create a Website to Combat Cyberbullying
With the hope of slowing down cyberbullying and dreams of putting an end to it completely, Allyson Giard, 19, and her brother created TeenCityTalks.com a website that caters to kids, teens and tweens. According to MyNews13, the website features a bully button that allows kids to report bullying anonymously.
The Giard siblings were both bullied in high school and they wanted to do something to stop other kids from going through the same experience. Giard said, “I think this will help kids because most kids don’t feel like online is safe. It will help with bullying and kids can actually go online and not get harassed and just play the games or talk to their friends that they want to.”
TeenCityTalks.com features games, chatrooms and even personal profiles that are structured to encourage a safe environment. The MyNews13 report explains that on the website you will find the standard elements of a social media network, but that there is also a bully system in place. Giard explained that the way the bully system works is that if a child/teen receives mean or harassing comments, they can anonymously push the bully button. This will then send a message to the parent and the administrator. Parents will then be able to see if their child is bullying someone and this will hopefully cause them to take action. Giard’s mom, Dorothy, thinks this is what is necessary to end cyberbullying. “The parents will be aware of what’s going on now. They will get an email saying what’s going on on the site if they’re being bullied.”
Stories like these inspire us to do the little we can in our everyday lives to stand up against cyberbullying. Remember, it doesn’t matter how old you are or where you are from, you can always make a difference by thinking outside of the box and choosing to take action. On one final note, never forget the power of children and the amazing influence they can have on their communities!