Teens are creating digital tools to fight bullying.
Brandon Boynton is on a mission. The 17-year-old from Pendleton, Indiana, wants to stop bullying in schools. He created an app called the BullyBox. It enables students to report bullying electronically—and anonymously.
“Antibullying is a passion of mine,” Brandon told TFK. He has experienced bullying, as both a victim and a witness. Brandon is not alone. According to StopBullying.gov, 70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools.
With the BullyBox, students can submit a report with photos or screen shots. It goes directly to school officials as an e-mail without a user name. “Keeping it anonymous is the only way students will do it,” says Brandon. “It gives them a voice without having to worry about retaliation from the person they’re reporting.”
The BullyBox is now used in three schools in Indiana. “It’s exciting,” says Brandon. “I want to get it into as many schools as possible.”
HIGH-TECH TOOL This is what the BullyBox app looks like on an iPhone
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Trisha Prabhu, 14, was also a victim of bullying. Cyberbullies sent her mean text messages. Last year, the teen from Naperville, Illinois, created an antibullying computer program. She called it Rethink. It gets users to pause and think before posting a message on social media that could be considered hurtful.
“It asks, ‘Are you sure you want to post this?’ ” says Trisha. “I’ve read studies saying that if kids realize they’re about to do something that could be hurtful to others, they usually decide not to do it.”
Trisha has conducted 1,500 tests of Rethink. “I found that 93% of the time, kids decided not to send [a mean] message,” she says.
Trisha hopes to make Rethink available to the public soon. “My Number 1 priority,” she says, “is to stop cyberbullying.”