Google contest finalist at 14 has way out of cyberbullying

Aug 08, 2014 by Nancy Owano weblog

A 14 year-old student selected as a Google Science Fair 2014 finalist has come up with a Rethink project that asks teenagers to reread hurtful messages before sending them off and having to deal with consequences they never considered before hitting Send. Trisha Prabhu entered the contest at 13 with a distinct distaste for cyberbullying and wanting to come up with a solution to help teenagers think twice. "I am looking forward to a future where we have conquered cyber-bullying!" she said in her project notes. Her hypothesis: If adolescents from ages 12 to18 were given an alert mechanism that suggested to them to revisit their decision to post a hurtful message on social media, the number of hurtful messages would drop lower than for those adolescents not provided with such an alert.

Thinking twice before doing something is not an especially strong skill among . "As found in this research," she observed in her project descriptions, "the Prefrontal Cortex is not fully developed during adolescence years." Study Methods: She created Baseline and Rethink systems, where both asked users if they were willing to post a series of predetermined messages online. She did 1500 trials.

There were 150 girls and 150 boys participating. Each participated in five trials. She chose a set of five mean and hurtful message examples and used them for testing in both systems. Names used in the example hurtful messages were kept generic. Results: 67 percent of those using the Baseline system were ready to publish malicious remarks. (Out of 750 trials in Baseline, teens were willing to post mean/hurtful messages in 504 of those trials, resulting in the willingness of 67.2% to post mean/hurtful messages.) Numbers for the Rethink results were quite different. On the Rethink side, 93.43% of the teen participants decided not to post mean or hurtful things after alerts to rethink their messages' contents.

Prabhu would like to do more with her contest entry. Moving forward, she said she already took a next step to put together a prototype showing how she envisions this "Rethink" system could work with sites and apps to prevent cyber-bullying at the source before it happens. As for her own future, she said she would want to major in neuroscience, "then spend my life unraveling the secrets of the brain."


Explore further: Study finds online bullying creates off-line fear at school

More information: Project: goo.gl/oTBUvq

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cyberbullying puts teens at risk

Jun 05, 2013

Teenage victims of cyberbullying, defined as the use of the internet or cell phones to send hurtful and harassing messages, are more likely to develop symptoms of depression, substance abuse and internet ...

Designing defenses against cyberbullying

May 21, 2014

Social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, can be fertile ground for cruel and inappropriate online behavior among young people. Unlike traditional bullying in schoolyards or other public places, ...

Teen 'sexting' has a double standard, study shows

Jun 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—While explicit "sexting" doesn't appear common among American teenagers, a small new study suggests girls may face a double standard: Boys might consider them promiscuous if they send nude photos ...

Recommended for you

Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

Dec 18, 2014

The detective work blaming North Korea for the Sony hacker break-in appears so far to be largely circumstantial, The Associated Press has learned. The dramatic conclusion of a Korean role is based on subtle ...

UN General Assembly OKs digital privacy resolution

Dec 18, 2014

The U.N. General Assembly has approved a resolution demanding better digital privacy protections for people around the world, another response to Edward Snowden's revelations about U.S. government spying.

Online privacy to remain thorny issue: survey

Dec 18, 2014

Online privacy will remain a thorny issue over the next decade, without a widely accepted system that balances user rights and personal data collection, a survey of experts showed Thursday.

Spain: Google News vanishes amid 'Google Tax' spat

Dec 16, 2014

Google on Tuesday followed through with a pledge to shut down Google News in Spain in reaction to a Spanish law requiring news publishers to receive payment for content even if they are willing to give it away.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

shahinur103
1 / 5 (2) Aug 11, 2014
Thanks a lot to Google.
http://a-enews.blogspot.com/

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.