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Friday, November 27, 2020

Bangladeshi teenager awarded Children’s Peace Prize for fighting cyberbullying

Bangladeshi teenager, Sadat Rahman has won the International Children’s Peace Prize for his work in combating cyberbullying.

The 17 year old set up a mobile app to stop cyberbullying after hearing about a 15 year old girl who committed suicide due to bullying.

Rahman’s app, Cyber Teens, enables cyberbullying to be reported by young people through a network of volunteers who then approach social workers or the police. Additionally, it has an educational component which informs teenagers about online safety.

Since its launch it has reached over 45,000 teenagers, and supported over 300 victims of cyberbullying, and 8 people – including adults who sexually harassed children online – have been arrested.

Mala Yousafzai, a Nobel laureate, described Mr. Rahman as “an inspiration”.

“He’s calling on young people all over the world to stop cyberbullying and to help peers in their community who suffer from mental and emotional violence. Sadat is a true change-maker,” she said in an online speech.

According to the AFP news agency, the teenager now aims to raise awareness about his app throughout his home country using the €100,000 (£90,000, $118,000) award “and hopefully to serve as a model for the rest of the world”.

Upon accepting the award, Rahman stated around 50% of young Bangladeshi internet users experience cyberbullying, but a lack of knowledge and fear had deterred many of them previously from reporting crimes.

“I strongly believe awareness, empathy, counselling and action are the four drivers of force to combat cyberbullying,” he said. “The fight against cyberbullying is like a war, and in this war, I’m a warrior. If everybody keeps supporting me, then together, we will win this battle against cyberbullying.”

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