Trisha Prabhu made ‘Rethink’, an app for cyber bullying. She was nominated for the Google Science Fair as Global Finalist. After reading about a suicide committed by an eleven year old girl who was the victim of cyber bullying, Prabhu stated, “For me, stopping cyber bullying was stopping (it) at the source which was with the cyber bullying.” The ‘Rethink’ product prototype is designed to plug into social media apps and sends a “This message may be hurtful. Are you sure you want to post this?” message to the person who is about to post on social media. Right now, Prabhu’s app is gathering a lot of momentum at the global level. She has also pitched her app in the ‘Shark Tank’ which is a television show. The show features enterprising individuals pitching their product to potential investors. Google Play Store has rated 4 stars out of 5 to the ‘Rethink’ app and reported close to 50,000 downloads so far.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists is of the opinion that bullying is an interpersonal problem that is grounded in a social context. The institution has identified seven types of cyber bullying: Flaming (electronic transmission of angry or rude messages), Harassment (repeatedly sending insulting or threatening messages), Cyber stalking (threats of harm or intimidation), Denigration (put-downs, spreading cruel rumors), Masquerading (pretending to be someone else and sharing information to damage a person’s reputation), Outing (revealing personal information about a person which was shared in confidence) and Exclusion (maliciously leaving a person out of a group online, such as a chat line or a game, ganging up on one individual).
Bullying as a concept causes harm to both – the victim and the perpetrator. It drives the former to depression that is a result of damaged self-esteem. The latter is likely to develop anti-social behavior, alcohol / drug dependency leading to depression. The psychology that creates bullies brings to light a lost sense of identity that needs to reinstate itself by exerting power over others in an unhealthy way. Bullies relish the control the way a sadist would relish harming dependent organisms.
There are two ends on which work needs to be done – Creating healthy individuals and creating defense mechanism to protect those who are the unfortunate victims of bullying. Trisha Prabhu’s app may well be the answer for the other end of the problem.
Trisha Prabhu’s website (trishaprabhu.com) states “Trisha is a 16-year-old innovator, social entrepreneur, advocate and inventor of ReThink – an effective way to stop cyber bullying. She is currently attending Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Illinois. She was honored as Google Science Fair – Global Finalist 2014 for her work on “ReThink”. She was also awarded the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) INSPIRE 2016 – Aristotle Award and 2016 Illinois High School Innovator Award by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for ReThink. Trisha was invited as a featured exhibitor to the White House Science Fair to showcase her work with ReThink. She was selected as Global Teen Leader 2015 by We Are Family Foundation and was conferred the “Global Anti-Bullying Hero” award from Auburn University, “Anti-Bullying Champion” award by the International Princess Diana Awards, UK and Upstander Legacy Celebration award from Tyler Clementi Foundation. She is also a proud recipient of several other awards including the “Daily Points of Light” awarded by the George H. W. Bush Foundation for extraordinary social volunteering and service. She has spoken at various global platforms, universities, schools and communities to raise awareness about the scourge of cyberbullying, to stop the hate on the Internet and engage adolescents to spread positivity and tolerance around the world. She has also used these platforms to advocate for Social Entrepreneurship and STEM education – especially for girls!”