Teen Wins Peace Prize for Fighting Cyber-Bullying
A tech-minded teenager from Bangladesh has won an international peace prize for inventing an application that supports young victims of cybercrime.
Sadat Rahman's thoughtful Cyber Teens app helps young people report incidences of online crime, including cyber-bullying, in the western district of Narail.
Judges at the KidsRights Foundation were so impressed with the 17-year-old's creation that they awarded him the 2020 International Children’s Peace Prize.
Rahman's award was presented by Pakistani female education activist and Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, who described the teen as "a true change maker." The award ceremony was held virtually and hosted by Netherlands-based KidsRights Foundation.
So far, Rahman's Cyber Teens app has been downloaded over 1,800 times and has supported 300 young victims of cyber-bullying.
The app puts children in contact with a team of young volunteers that includes Rahman and lets them report crimes confidentially. The team then contacts local law enforcement officers and social workers to secure help for the victims.
Helpful hints and tips about online safety, including a guide to spotting and avoiding sexual predators, can also be accessed via the app.
Rahman's team of volunteers has successfully resolved nearly 60 cybercrimes and resulted in eight arrests by local police. Some complaints involved children being sent inappropriate messages and pornographic content by adults.
“Serious action needs to be taken right now," said Rahman. "Teenagers continue to remain vulnerable to online crime and cyberbullying, particularly in the times we live in."
Rahman was inspired to invent the app after learning about the tragic consequences of one particular case of cyber-bullying.
“The idea started after a 15-year-old girl committed suicide because of online bullying,” said Rahman.
“I decided that teenagers needed help and that we should take action to try to avoid other children facing the same tragedy.”
In addition to the app, Rahman has created Cyber Clubs in every school in his local area to educate young people in digital literacy and safety.
Rahman's win came with $118,000 in prize money that he intends to use to roll out the app across Bangladesh and to other countries.