How one 15-yr-old is fighting cyber-bullying


How one 15-yr-old is fighting cyber-bullying

Trisha Prabhu’s program Re-Think asks a crucial question at the right time

By Deepa Menon  September 24th, 2015

Not only are teenagers more likely to be affected by trolling, they’re also more likely to be trolls. This is the crux of the problem as American student Trisha Prabhu sees it. In a talk for TEDxTeen, she quotes research that says those in the 12 to 18 age group are 40% more likely to post offensive messages on social media. This lot is no meaner than any other group of people, but suffers from a condition that makes it more deadly: poor impulse control. Because their brains are still developing, teens find it hard to pause and reconsider the consequences of their actions. Think of the hairstyles you sported in high school and you’ll know this is true.

So Prabhu came up with a software that applies the brakes. If it detects an offensive word or phrase in your message, it will ask a simple question when you hit post: ‘Re-Think has detected that this message maybe hurtful to others. Are you sure you want to post this message?’

Prabhu says using the software has reduced instances of cyber-bullying among the American teenagers studied by up to 93 per cent. Even if that is a best-case-scenario type of projection, Re-Think seems to be tackling this problem the right way up, ie by targeting potential bullies and not their victims. You can download the program on iOS and Android devices.

Perhaps if more teenagers learnt to curb their inner meanies, we’d have fewer fully grown trolls bumming us out on the internet. If you need proof of their existence, just read the comments on Trisha Prabhu’s TEDx talk

You may also want to read: about how women are attacked by cyber-bullies and what you can do about it.