Columbine. Virginia Tech. Parkland. And countless others. All of these schools have suffered mass shootings that have left them crippled. Students have been rising up in the march for gun control, but no one has tried to identify teenagers with symptoms of serious depression, suicidal risk, or greater harm to others. My app, Solace, strives to solve exactly that, helping to identify teenagers who need help. Nowadays, teenagers use social media as a medium of expressing themselves and their inner thoughts. In the case of several shootings, these troubled teenagers exhibited enough symptoms in their social conversations on different platforms, which if detected earlier, timely counseling help could have been provided and major loss of life could have been avoided. Take for example the Parkland shooter. In an article by CNN, it is shown that the Parkland shooter had a disturbing digital profile that should have set off some flags early on. However, this was not the case, and what could have been prevented resulted in the deadly massacre of several students and staff at Parkland high school. We simply cannot let this continue.
What it does
My iOS app analyzes social media to flag accounts where at-risk people show signs of depression or anger that could potentially lead to a shooting or suicidal risk. One simply inputs the twitter handle of a person who they feel may be a potential victim of depression and is susceptible to acts of societal damage. (I input a dummy account username).
How I built it
To build this app, I used Swift, twitterkit(the twitter api), IBM Watson Tone Analyzer API for sentiment analysis, AWS Amazon Rekognition API for image analysis, and 4 pods(libraries) from Cocoapods.
Challenges I ran into
Some of the struggles I went through while making this app included not having that much experience in iOS, twitterkit, and Watson, and having zero experience with Rekognition. I used several tutorials and read pages of documentation in order to build this app. Also, I initially wanted to use the instagram API but the api is currently being deprecated by facebook. Regardless, it can still be implemented for fb and ig(if that were an option), and I plan to do so in the future.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I worked on this project 100% by myself, a feat that I never knew I was capable of doing. I also have never before worked with AWS services, so that was a tricky but interesting experience. I overcame many of the roadblocks along the way as well.
What I learned
I did quite a bit of research on depression signs and several instances where mass shooters showed signs of trouble on their social media.
What's next for Solace
-implement for fb & ig
-make more aesthetically better(fix ui)
-tweets showing default
-make it available for a database of users rather than individual people
-personalize for schools and counselors so they can watch out for their students