Tech & Innovation

13-year-old Girl Creates an App to Combat Cyberbullying

    Trisha Prabhu Is Not Your Average 13-Year-Old

    When Prabhu was 13-years-old she was scrolling through the internet and came across a story that would change her life forever. The story was about a 12-year-old girl who had committed suicide after being a victim of cyberbullying.

    Trisha found it extremely troubling that someone who was just a year younger than her could be made to feel like they no longer wanted to live. So Trisha asked herself one question, “What can I do to stop this from ever happening again?” Turns out she created the answer…

    At the next school science fair, she did some research into adolescent behavior and its correlation to cyberbullying. Her results of the experiment showed that teens are 50% more likely to post hateful things online than adults. The reason for this is that adolescent brains aren’t fully developed so the decision to post a hateful comment is impulsive.

    Now that she had the statistics she needed, Prabhu taught herself some basic coding skills and got to work. Prabhu figured out that if given the opportunity to not post the hurtful message, adolescents will change their mind 93% of the time. This led her to develop an app called ReThink.

    ReThink detects a hateful message on your phone before you send it. It then gives the sender the option of going through with the posting of the message.

    The Success of the App

    Since the release of ReThink, the app is available on smartphones and tablets. Over 3,000 schools across the country have started using the app. It has only received positive reviews including a few scientific merit awards.

    Prabhu is now 17 in 2018 and travels the world speaking out about cyberbullying and the importance of STEM programs in schools. Trisha was invited as a featured exhibitor by President Obama to the White House Science Fair. Advocacy of STEM programs is important in today’s world because many females are discouraged from pursuing an interest in STEM-related careers.

    Prabhu targets her STEM speeches to young women but encourages STEM education for everyone! She will be attending Harvard in the fall of 2018 and wi. She is currently trying to make ReThink available in international languages. This is so schools and communities around the world can have free access to the app.