A teenager from suburban Chicago has created a new program that makes potential cyberbullies think twice before posting content on social media that could be considered hurtful.
Teen programmer Trisha Parbhu first came up with the idea in 2013 when she was just 13 years old. The idea came to her when she heard about an 11 year old girl who killed herself after experiencing repeated cyberbullying attacks.
Now at 15 years old, Parbhu has finished her innovative program, which is called ReThink. The program functions by scanning messages on social media that might be considered hurtful to others. If hurtful content is detected, a notification will pop up, giving the writer a second chance before they post the message. It can be installed on any computer, whether it is at home or at school.
Parbhu was also a victim of cyberbullying when she was younger. It was an experience that she wishes she hadn’t gone through. She created the program so that she can help other teens who might be going through something similar experiences which she had lived through.
Studies show that 43% of teens have been victims of cyberbullying at some point in time. Teens that experience cyberbullying are nine times more likely to consider committing suicide than teens who haven’t been bullied on social media.
Prabhu has been widely applauded for her program. She made it to the global finals of the Google Science Fair, and she received the opportunity to present her program at the White House Science Fair. She also received an award from Auburn University. Additionally, many teenagers and parents who have experienced cyberbullying firsthand have thanked Prabhu.
ReThink is available on all types of computers, and it can also be installed on smartphones through an app. Prabhu is leading the effort to have the program installed on school computers across the United States.
Prabhu says that the program functions pretty well, but it isn’t perfect. Tests show that ReThink will catch most offensive messages, but some hurtful comments still manage to slip through.
Still, ReThink is extremely helpful in combating cyberbullying. Statistics have shown that teenagers using the program have changed their minds 93% of the time before posting hurtful comments.
Sometimes a person just needs a helpful reminder that words can be hurtful in order to stop from saying something that they might later regret.