Cyberbullying is sadly an all-too-familiar occurrence for teens and tweens. The harassment of classmates and other people from school in online settings can have devastating effects on kids.
But posting mean things online isn't just limited to younger kids gossiping about someone at school. People who intentionally post mean-spirited or inflammatory content are commonly called "trolls," and they're everywhere.
But one 13-year-old scientist has a plan to stop them. Or, at least slow them down.
Trisha Prabhu, who is one of Google's 15 Global Science Fair finalists, has a pretty good idea and some research to back it up. Quite a few people, 93.43% to be exact, did not post mean or malicious content when asked if they really wanted to post it.
Prabhu's project "Rethink" does just that - it causes people to rethink what they want to post online. It's a filtering system that would analyze the post and alert users if they really want to post that mean message.
The young scientist explains that “cyber-bullying is an online form of bullying, that research shows may result in depression, low self-esteem and in rare cases suicides in adolescent victims(12-18).”
“Research shows that, over 50% of adolescents and teens have been bullied online and 10 to 20% experience it regularly. Research also shows that adolescents that post mean/hurtful messages may not understand the potential consequences of their actions because the pre-frontal cortex, the area of brain that controls reasoning and decision-making isn’t developed until age 25,” she wrote in the project’s summary.
Forcing people to take a second look at what they're posting can help those internal social filters to kick in and help them make more socially aware.
I for one think this is a great idea! What do you think? Tell me in the comments below.