Teen Girl Trisha Prabhu Invents Program To Help Stop Cyber Bullying


Cyber bullying and online trolling is a real problem, and for some teenagers it’s something that has been a part of their lives since birth since the digital age and social media became common place before they were born. While police and local authorities all the way up to the FBI have entire departments dedicated to tackling this rampant issue which can literally destroy lives, a lot of the time is starts with the individual being educated or being made aware of the implications of their actions.

A teen girl from Naperville, Illinois has been examining cyber bullying in an attempt to prevent it. Trisha Prabhu, 14, created a project called ‘Rethink’ which she entered in the 2014 Google Science Fair. She has been selected as one of only 15 global finalists who will compete at the finals at the Google headquarters in Silicon Valley, California, in September.

Her project was based on a two-prong research report she conducted which led her to create the ‘Rethink’ computer program.

“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 writes in her project summary on the Google Science Fair site.

Her focus was on the 12-18 age range, which are affected most by cyber bullying according to her data, and Trisha wanted to prove there is an effective way to prevent many cases. She thought up an alert system which would allow the potential bully to re-think their hurtful messages before hitting ‘send’ on the keyboard.


“In order to check if my hypothesis was true, I created two Software systems: 1) Baseline 2) Rethink. ‘Rethink’ system measured number of mean/hurtful messages adolescents were willing to post after being alerted to rethink, while the ‘Baseline’ system measured the same without the alert. Results proved that adolescents were 93.43% less willing to post mean/hurtful messages using a ‘Rethink’ system compared with ‘Baseline’ system without alert.”

She surveyed 1500 test subjects in order to attain her study results, in the hope that this product will one day become as common as the Facebook “like” button, and we sure hope it will be!

“I am looking forward to a future where we have conquered cyber-bullying!” Trisha ends her proposal with, after outlining the research she accessed, the information she used and how she created the software.

If this is what our future generations look like, then we are in safe hands. This is the kind of invention that could be used by people all over the world who have access to the internet. It is easy, effective and is based on a digital version of a “self-reflection” technique where we examine our own behavior and judge whether it is the right thing to do.

Reading the comments section of pretty much any Youtube video makes you think what a great program this would be, if Trisha’s results are anything to go by. We’re certainly rooting for this young genius to come out on top at the Google Science Fair finals in September. But until then, perhaps we could all use the “rethink” method in our everyday lives. Thanks for the lesson Trisha!





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