Words can hurt. Especially when they are broadcast across the interwebs. Recently, cyberbullying has a become a very real and serious threat in our society, leading to many lawsuits and, unfortunately, suicides. Many people have tried to curb this trend through legislation (and attempted censorship). While I’m not exactly sure how I feel about the politics of the issue, I definitely think that part of the solution lies with training at home.
Everyone is pretty familiar with the autocorrect feature on mobile phones. It’s ability to come up with the least likely words you’d ever want to use is uncanny and has led to the “autocorrect fail” phenomenon. Aside from its inherent flaws, the feature could be used to promote good – and curb cyber-bullying.
Enter my invention, “Autocompliment”. Autocompliment will recognize any negative word you type and automatically change it into a positive one.
Without Autocompliment: “You are such a slut.”
With Autocompliment: “You are such a good person.”
The app could be downloaded to your or your child’s smart phone and connect with your phone’s keyboard similar to how the (irritatingly) popular emoji apps do it. And, just like autocorrect, you can choose whether to accept or reject the change. However, the key to Autocompliment, is that you receive points for choosing positive words over negative ones. Users can redeem those points for swag like iTunes downloads or movie tickets.
The app could either be used as a preventative measure to merely increase awareness of the amount of negativity users emote or as an instructive tool for those guilty of cyberbullying.
It’s small and it’s simple. But I think it could do a lot of good. Or at least help spread the word about online bullying.