Waves of Change
When I look back at my perfect childhood, the only memories that trouble me are my struggles with bullying. All of these were uninvited and unwelcome incidents that damaged my morale, my friendships, my peace of mind, and my academic focus. Although that damage has long been repaired and I have lived a bully free life ever since, those incidents are etched into my memory.
The most disturbing aspect of bullying is the feeling of powerlessness and isolation after such an incident. This is because of the difficulty of reporting a bullying incident in most schools. The internal politics of an institute’s administration with its hierarchies painfully lengthens the process, and the publicity that the ‘bullied’ gains as a ‘snitch’ has an effect contrary to the intention of reporting. Hence, several cases of bullying go unreported, having a detrimental effect on the mental health of students and the facilitation of education in the institute.
That is why my friends and I came up with ‘Upstander’ – an app accompanied by a social media initiative on Instagram which allows students to directly report bullying incidents to the top school administration, with the option of staying anonymous. Its child friendly interface allows users to describe the incident efficiently, which is instantly notified to the concerned school authorities, hence encouraging students to stop being mere bystanders and to start being upstanders. Upstanders are people who stand up for themselves and those around them, allowing for the creation of a bullying free environment.
We sincerely hope that the Upstander app facilitates the reporting of bullying incidents thereby enabling educational institutes to effectively strike down on bullying and thus making these environments safe.
the Upstander Team (Aaryan Agrawal IBDP2, Ayaan Shah IBDP2, Mohak Shah IBDP2, Rhea R Shah IBDP2)