January 30, 2023: Together, we can conquer cyberbullying using ReThink – a digital technology that detects and stops cyberbullying before the damage is done!

Bullying is a form of ongoing targeted and intentional abuse by an individual or group. It can include name-calling, taunting, threats, spreading rumours, intentionally leaving someone out, or physical violence. Bullying can occur in many places and as the digital sphere continues to expand and online technology becomes part of our daily lives, bullying online is part of it too. Cyberbullying is bullying with the use of digital technologies. It can take place on social media, messaging platforms, gaming platforms and mobile phones. Together, we can conquer cyberbullying using Rethink – a digital technology that detects and stops cyberbullying before the damage is done! This week in the mentoring circle, we explore a call-to-action to end online hate and raise responsible digital citizens.

As cyberbullying is carried out through electronic devices or digital media to post hurtful messages, Trisha Prabhu gives an opportunity to ReThink about it…before the damage is done! Trisha Prabhu was a 14-year-old student at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Illinois when her research led her to create the digital platform Rethink. In 2013, Trisha heard about a young girl’s suicide due to bullying on the Internet and set out to find a solution to cyberbullying. From a young age, she has been fascinated with the inner workings of the brain. She invented this digital tool to perform one simple and critical action: it asks people before sending a hurtful message if they really want to send that. And most people, it turns out, say: well, actually, no. Below hear the story of her clever invention.

Rethink gives adolescents who are trying to post an offensive message on social media a second chance to reconsider their decision. Face-to-face bullying and cyberbullying can often happen alongside each other. But cyberbullying leaves a digital footprint – a record that can be helpful and provide evidence to help stop the abuse and allow the bully to reflect on what they are doing. Trisha’s digital application is an award-winning, innovative, nonintrusive, patented technology that effectively detects and stops online hate. Online bullying has real-world consequences, and young software engineer Trisha Prabhu saw a way to help by designing an effective long-term solution to stop cyberbullying. With more than 120,000 downloads, it has given students a second chance before they send hateful messages.

When experiencing cyberbullying we might start to feel ashamed, nervous, anxious and insecure about what people say or think about us. As Trisha learned, the effects of online bullying can have long-lasting negative impacts on the targeted person’s mental and physical health. When young people experience bullying, it can lead to serious cases of anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and a higher risk of suicide. Cyberbullying is a serious problem that affects young people every day, according to the Government of Canada, three out of ten Canadian youth say they have been cyberbullied before. Cyberbullying hurts and can have a negative impact on the relationships and future lives of those involved. In the following video, learn about 10 common forms of cyberbullying and put a stop to it!

Think about where cyberbullying happens in your community and ways you can help – by raising your voice, calling out bullies or creating awareness of the issue. Even a simple act of kindness can go a long way. We can provide a safer way for students to explore their digital world by empowering them to speak out! The creation of  ‘Create No Hate’ by Luke Culhane is a powerful message and an inspirational story of taking a stand against cyberbullying. Luke was motivated to create a film after being a victim of cyberbullying. He understood firsthand the impact it can have on a young person’s self-esteem. He wanted to do something to speak out against it and did it through a medium that he is passionate about such as filmmaking. Watch the viral short film that Luke Culhane produced, entitled ‘Cyberbullying – Create No Hate’ and play your part by using STOP, BLOCK & TELL!

The effects of cyberbullying on mental health can vary depending on the medium through which it happens. Each social platform offers different tools that allow us to restrict who can comment on or view our posts or who can connect automatically as a friend, and report cases of bullying. Many of them involve simple steps to block, mute or report cyberbullying. Social media companies also provide educational tools and guidance for children, parents and teachers to learn about risks and ways to stay safe online. To anyone who has ever been bullied online: You are not alone! In the following video, TikTok stars Charli and Dixie D’Amelio open up about their personal experience of being bullied and share tips on how to make the internet a better place.