A 15-Year-Old Girl Developed An App That Might End Cyberbullying

It gets your kid to do the one thing you can't.

by Amanda Caswell
Originally Published: 

Trisha Prabhu, a 15-year-old who gave a TEDxTeen talk about cyberbullying, created an app called ReThink that’s designed to get your kid to do the one thing you might have a spotty track record with: think before they do something stupid. Specifically, before they send a text or post a message to social media that might make another kid feel like crap.

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The app quickly scans message drafts for offensive or cruel words and, when harsh language is detected, prompts the user to reconsider before it’s sent. Sounds simple enough, but in reality, ReThink turns the idea behind most cyberbullying solutions on its head. Existing software generally requires the victim to block and report the bully; ReThink intervenes with the bully themselves and forces them to address their own behavior. And it works — one study found that kids were 93 percent less likely to post hurtful messages when prompted by ReThink.

Proving that she is, in fact, a genius, Prabhu describes the adolescent brain as a car with no brakes and that her app works because it provides them a way to stop before acting. Then again, she also insists that “Kids are not mean devils that run around with cruel intentions,” which suggests that she still has to learn a thing or two (or she’s just never been a playground with more 4-year-olds than swings).

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