«Un défi» in French translates to "a challenge" in English, and a lot of big things start with small challenges. For example, perhaps one of the biggest events of 2019 was #TeamTrees, which all started with a small challenge from a community of youth for influential people that turned into a ton of trees for Planet Earth. Events like these demonstrate the potential of young people in society to make a great difference in our world, who we hope to empower to make differences in our communities.
We thought about the ways that connected to youth the most, and the platform that stood out was social media. According to AACAP.org, surveys show that 90% of teenagers aged 13-17 years have used social media, with over 50% visiting a social media site daily. It's clear that social media has a great influence over young people, but it's often associated with negative effects, including exposure to harmful or inappropriate content, and interfering with sleep, homework, or even family activities.
Knowing that social media can be a powerful influence for youth, we decided to use it to its advantages.
What it does
Défine is a social media platform that provides challenges for youth, which are composed of tasks which encourage youth to do good for their community and the environment around them. For example, a challenge may be titled "Earth Day 2020," and some tasks associated with this challenge may include "picking up 50 pieces of trash" or "shopping with reusable bags." The challenge participants retrieve proof (which may be an image, video, etc.) and send it to the challenge hosts, who review the image/footage (in the order they were submitted) and decide whether or not the user has successfully/sufficiently completed the challenge.
The challenge hosts/judges decide collectively on a winner, which they may choose based on the user with the most creative submissions, or the user who completed all tasks the fastest. At the end, the winning participant may recieve a prize and attention/recognition for their actions (as they are ranked higher on the final leaderboard), which is a big incentive for many youth.
Défine replicates many elements of a typcial social media site, such as the ability to follow others and to have a profile that summarizes one's past challenges. The ability to follow others encourages friends to join challenges together, encouraging youth to do good for their community/environment with friends. The profile allows people to view each other's progress and challenges they've completed, and with our app, a developed profile is something that one can be proud of, as it means that you've done a lot of good for the community and the environment.
Each challenge also comes with a challenge chat, where participants can connect with others sharing the same passions as them. The chat will be heavily moderated, because once again, this platform is about bringing the best of social media into one place and combining them with a purpose of a positive impact in our world, and the chat for making connections should be a comfortable place to chat in. This challenge chat should only strive to make connections for the greater good, where users can connect with individual users if they would like to chat more informally.
How we built it
We used React Native + Expo for our mobile application...
We used the MERN Stack...
We used backend API to connect our two components together!
Challenges we ran into
With the React Native app, there were a lot of bugs that took some time to find and resolve. Perhaps the biggest source of be We managed to stay pretty "snag" free. Other than debugging, a lot of bugs seemed to appear randomly, basically materializing from thin air. But we persevered and managed to complete our project!
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We managed to come up with an idea, create a plan and then create a website, mobile app and server in under 48 hours! We worked around the clock to make our inspiration come to life and we did it! Défine [ pronounced Day-fine] is up and running!
What we learned
We learned how to stay awake and function on very little sleep and food! Jokes aide, we learned how to build our skills to create something out of the ordinary for all of us.
What's next for Défine
Hopefully we can take this further and post it to the iOS and Google Play Store - as well as get some sponsors to supply some larger incentives! We would love to see this app grow and help empower this generation into taking action!