Trisha Prabhu is a 13-year-old student from Chicago who recently was selected as one of 15 finalists in Google’s Global Science Fair.
Her project’s aim was to stop cyberbullying by creating an alert system that allowed teens to rethink before posting a hurtful comment online.
Her idea was based on the fact that adolescents’ brains, specifically the prefrontal cortex, are not fully developed, and so if teens are forced to reflect before posting a mean comment, they would not do it.
“I hypothesized that if adolescents (ages 12-18) were provided an alert mechanism that suggested them to re-think their decision if they expressed willingness to post a mean/hurtful message on social media, the number of mean/hurtful messages that adolescents will be willing to post would be lesser than adolescents that are not provided with such an alert mechanism,” Prabhu wrote on her Google science fair application.
After running 1,500 trials for her project, appropriately titled “Rethink”, she seemed to have achieved its aim. She found that there was a 93.43% reduction in the number of hurtful messages.
In her project proposal, she went one step further and created a prototype of the “Rethink” system that can be applied.
“I am looking forward to a future where we have conquered cyber-bullying!” she further commented on her application.