Remember that one time someone said something at school and it hurt you, to the point that you remember it to this day? Maybe you experienced some form of bullying, a lot of people can identify with at least one case. Most of us grew up as kids without cellphones or access to internet for that matter. Verbal bullying consisted of what you could say to another person face to face or on the phone. With the introduction of the cell phone and most kids owning one, communication advances into other mediums. But with this easy mode of communication comes more ways to bully. Words over text last longer, but words can also be edited from the initial thought unlike face to face communication. So, many parents and school systems ask the question: Is there any way to try and limit text bullying without censorship of free speech?
Trisha Prabhu is a 16 year old female social entrepreneur with her mind set on creating something that diminishes cyberbullying. Trisha, around 13 years old started formulating an idea that limits bullying that takes place within the school system. She designed an app called ReThink. Over the past years, Trisha has won countless awards and finally got her idea officially endorsed by a shark on the show Shark Tank.
ReThink is an app that can be purchased by school systems where the app can be implemented to all electronics owned by the school. When kids go to respond to a message, if they use language that sounds offensive in nature, a message will pop up and ask if they would like to reword their text. This mere pause before sending has been proven to diminish cyberbullying immensely.
Being someone who is weary about any speech censorship, I actually find this app to be acceptable because it doesn’t prohibit anyone from speaking what they think, just suggesting that they maybe rethink how they say it. It’s obvious to see that Trisha has compassion and a heart to help others, but she also has an eye to see a solution to a problem that seemed almost hopeless for many online. As an entrepreneur, she inspires me to not look past problems that are just socially accepted as how it will always be. As a communications major, she shows me how we can promote healthy communication without infringing on people’s rights to free speech.