It’s a fact that teens don’t often think through their decisions.
Trisha Prabhu, a Chicago, Illinois high school student, was moved by the story of a Florida teen who committed suicide after being relentlessly cyberbullied. NoBullying.com (http://nobullying.com/cyber-bullying-statistics-2014/) reports that more than half of American teens have either experienced or witnessed cyberbullying during an average school year.
Prabhu – her calendar now filled with speaking engagements – is fond of recounting how she took to coding at a young age. “So I thought, OK, I know how to code. I know that [stopping bullying] is something I’m passionate about. Let me try and fuse them together to see if I can make a difference. That’s really where ReThink was born.”
ReThink (www.rethinkwords.com) is a software programme that reacts to certain words typed into a computer. It sends the typist a simple message: “Are you sure you want to send that message?” Prabhu’s research indicates that users discouraged from sending nasty missives 93% of the time.
Prabhu’s clever tool was launched at the 2014 Google Science Fair and took her all the way to the White House, to explain ReThink to first lady Michelle Obama. Now she’s working on a version for mobile devices.
“Very rarely in this connected world do we remember that we need to slow down, pause and think about what we’re doing,” Prabhu told one of her audiences recently.