Back in March, we reported on a contest brought out by ReachOut.com, allowingteenagers to develop initiatives that will better combat the issue of cyberbullying. ReachOut.com, a website that advocates the improvement of the mental health of youth, partnered with the ESA Foundation to announce the winners of the contest. The ‘Don’t Just Stand By’ contest was a great step forward in combating the silence that comes from cyberbulling bystanders.
A Little About the Contest
The ‘Don’t Just Stand By’ contest was a competition for individuals aged 13-18. The contestants were asked to create a Facebook application that gave the silent bystanders to cyberbullying enough courage and a voice to stand up against the problem. This was a difficult undertaking for the teenagers.
The developers were under pressure to create an application that would solve the problem many of these bystanders had, being found out that they reported this problem. This had to be done while still ensuring that the bullies were correctly reported for their delinquency. However, the teenagers successfully found some creative solutions and we have the winners! Thanks to Inspire USA and ReachOut.com for allowing us to promote this wonderful endeavour.
- First Place: Timothy Mullican
The solution that Timothy found offered a better way for finding the hidden cyberbullying attacks that occur on Facebook. The 15 year old Westminster Christian Academy sophomore from Huntsville, AL created a Facebook search engine that allows users to search for commonly used bullying terms. The search engine will then search through friend’s Facebook walls and activity. This makes finding the perpetrators easier, allowing the witness to report the appropriate individuals. Mullican’s prize for winning first place includes $2000 and five hours of virtual mentorship.
- Second Place: Zuhair Chaudhry
Zuhair Chaudhry’s Facebook application was more focused on garnering individuals to better combat cyberbullying. The Champlain Valley High student from Hinesburg, VT did this by creating an application that allowed Facebook users to make a pledge to combat online bullying. The app allowed pledges to be in the form of alerting an adult when they suspect apparent bullying on Facebook. The pledges also can be in the form of helping the individual victim, by writing on their Facebook wall good messages and letting them know they have another individual on their side. Chaudhry (Facebook photo pictured on left) won $1500 and an hour of virtual mentorship for winning second place.
- Third Place: Alexa Alpern
Alpern, the oldest and the only female winner, developed a video game that had players find out how to correctly respond to cyberbullying in chat rooms. The now Edinboro University freshman graduated from Stephen Decatur High School and hopes to go into Computer Animation while balancing her olympic training in figure skating. Alexa won $500 and an hour of mentorship for winning third place in the competition.
Find Out More About Their Initiative
The problem with cyberbullying doesn’t stop here. While foundations like Inspire USA help to bring attention to these problems, it is up to us to better combat the issue and bring it to an end. To find out more about what Inspire USA hopes to help, visit their website at inspireusafoundation.org. To find out better resources and to get inspiration, check out ReachOut.com.