Cyberbullying is a serious issue that is on the rise as technology makes it’s way into more adolescent hands. For victims of cyberbullying the effects can be devastating. Studies show that cyberbullying can lead to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and higher dropout rates among students.
There are plenty of systems and tools on the market to deal with the problem, but they all address cyberbullying after it occurs. Essentially, victims are told to stop what they’re doing, block the bully from further communication and tell a parent or adult. Unfortunately at that point the damage has already been done, and 9 out of 10 victims don’t actually tell anyone what happened.
ReThink is anti-cyberbullying software that attempts to stop bullying before it happens, and modify the behavior of the bully. ReThink scans all texts and social media messages for offensive content while the message is being typed, and alerts the poster that their message may be hurtful, giving them a second chance to rethink their comment and edit or delete it. It doesn’t block messages, just asks the user to double-check their message and reconsider their words.
When adolescents are alerted by ReThink that what they’re writing may be offensive, they change their minds an astonishing 93% of the time. In an international study using Rethink, incidents of cyberbullying were reduced dramatically, and willingness to post an offensive message went from 71% to 4%. By giving adolescents the choice, ReThink is helping them learn to make better decisions and be more conscious of the impact their words have on others.
The software download for Apple and Android devices is free and there is community edition for schools.
ReThink was created by Trisha Prabhu of Naperville, Illinois. When she was 13 years old she was heartbroken when she heard that another young girl had just committed suicide after repeated cyberbullying. She began extensive research on the topic, and having learned to code at a young age, developed the ReThink software when she was just 14.
Trisha’s Awards and Achievements (Before finishing high school!)
- Google Science Fair Global Finalist (2014)
- MIT Aristotle Award
- 2016 Illinois High School Innovator Award by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for ReThink.
- Global Teen Leader by We Are Family Foundation (2015)
- Global Anti-Bullying Hero award from Auburn University
- Anti-Bullying Champion award by the Princess Diana Awards
- UK and Upstander Legacy Celebration award from Tyler Clementi Foundation.
- Trisha speaks passionately about cyberbullying on national and international platforms including TED.