Thursday, September 15, 2016

teen invents app to prevent bullying

Natalie Hampton of Sherman Oaks, California (pictured below) has never forgotten her 7th and 8th grade years in middle school, where she was bullied. She ate alone in the cafeteria every day of 7th grade, and the feeling of vulnerability led to nightmares, stress and depression.  "When I walked into a classroom, I was planning an escape route," she recalls. Now she's 16, a high school junior, and she attends a different school where she's thriving socially. But she knows bullying is rampant in cyberspace and school cafeterias, so she created an app called "Sit With Us."

                                                                                                     Carolyn Hampton Photography
The app allows students to designate themselves as "ambassadors", inviting others to join them, which signal to anyone needing company that they are invited to join the ambassadors' table. It helps students who have difficulty finding a place to sit find a welcoming group. It prevents kids from being publicly rejected or considered outcasts. And the best part? According to Natalie, "This way it's very private. It's through the phone. No one else has to know. People are already posting open lunches at my school," she says, "so I'm very excited that things are kicking off with a great start."

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