Bullying is more prevalent today than ever and cyber bullying is rampant. Youth today are more adept at communicating virtually than handling personal confrontation and therefore may have less confidence in speaking up and raising their voices against bullying. Our team sought to combat bullying by helping kids find their voice and become more confident in speaking up against bullies.

Bullying causes trauma that lasts into adulthood for both victims and bullies. Bullying itself extends beyond school settings and into workplaces. In developing Bully Bot, we seek to place a virtual, nonthreatening bully in front of individuals in order to practice their responses when confronted with bullying, insults, and offensive comments. Bully Bot will teach individuals beginning at a young age how to respond to these situations in different environments, with different types of bullies, and to understand bullying more completely.

What it does

Bully Bot is a web app that allows individuals to practice possible responses when confronted with a bully by presenting common insults that they may face throughout their lives. It is a platform to help individuals think about how they will respond to bullying and give them tools to speak out.

How we built it

We built a web app with HTML, JavaScript, and CSS in Visual Studio Code using Live Share. For the JavaScript portion, we compiled three arrays for insults of increasing severity and their responses. Array objects included insults and comebacks.

Challenges we ran into

As beginners, we struggled to decide whether to build a mobile app or a web app, which environment to build in, and the best way to collaborate. We debated iOS, Xcode, Visual Studio Code, Google App Engine for the environment. We planned on collaborating through GitHub. That was until we figured out Live Share on Visual Studio Code. That was a game changer!

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of our product! We love the function, the simple function, and the clean, old school gaming look of the app.

All of us set out to learn something new at this hackathon. We're all proud to say we coded in a new language!

Figuring out Live Sharing on Visual Studio Code was a huge turning point for us and we're proud we found a new collaboration strategy we will all be using in the future!

What we learned

JavaScript Visual Studio Code (Live Share!)

What's next for Bully Bot

This is just the beginning for Bully Bot. This is the minimum viable product. The very next thing for Bully Bot is speech to text capability. We want people to actually find their voices to practice speaking up against bullies! It will take a gamified approach where users earn points for each response they say correctly. In the next level, it will not provide the response in text form. This will give users practice in recalling responses and allow them to become second nature (similar to language learning platforms).

Next, we want users to practice different methods of dealing with various types of bullies and intervention when others are being bullied. It will include responses based on humor, distraction (aka fogging), compassion, and when to avoid the bully. In this phase, we will tie in education around types of bullying and the psychology behind it. In this stage, we will also have a section identifying which bullies are likely to come from troubled homes. This can increase the opportunities for intervention for troubled kids, which may break the cycle of bullying before it continues into adulthood and the workplace.

Thirdly, we want to build a chat feature to increase community support. We want the chat feature to have anti-trolling capabilities to build a positive, supported environment for users.

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