Teen Creates ‘Sit With Us’ App For Bullied Kids
Author: Shernide Delva
If you were anything like me during lunch time, you remember the feeling of not having anyone to sit with during lunch. Now, 16-year-old Natalie Hampton wants to ensure no one ever has to feel that way ever again.
When Hampton first started high school, she was always ostracized and rejected when she was trying to find a place to sit during lunch time. Eventually, she made friends and settled into her school in Sharman Oaks, California. However, she could not help but think of all the other kids going through the same experience she had.
That’s why she created the innovative app Sit With Us that allows children to coordinate safe places eat and make new friends. Since the planning can be done in private, teens do not have to be embarrassed during their search for acceptance. Kids can host open lunches as “ambassadors for a Sit With Us club” and get the party started.
“Because the way it was at my old school, I tried many times to reach out to someone, but I was rejected on many times,” Natalie told NPR. “And you feel like you’re labeling yourself as an outcast when you ask to join a table with someone you don’t know. This way it’s very private. It’s through the phone. No one else has to know. And you know that you’re not going to be rejected once you get to the table.”
Since the app launched on September 9, Natalie has received an outpouring amount of gratitude and positive feedback. The app is free to download from The Apple Store.
There was a recent article that discussed how trauma from bullying continues into adulthood. An app like this could help children find those who are willing to lend an open hand. Bullying is not a laughing matter or a rite of passage. Children who are repeatedly bullied suffer from PTSD and often suicide ideation.
The now-high school junior told Los Angeles Daily News that she was inspired to create the app after eating lunch alone her entire seventh-grade school year. She said that experience made her feel lonely and vulnerable. She became a target for bullying which lasted until her eighth-grade year.
Women especially are susceptible to the effects of bullying later in life. Women who’ve experienced bullying had higher levels of depression, anxiety, and PTSD compared to their male peers.
“Bullying victimization significantly predicted students’ current levels of depression and anxiety — over and above other childhood victimization experiences,” Educational psychologist, Dorothy Epelage. “The prevalence of psychological distress in children who have been bullied is well-documented, and this research suggests that college students’ psychological distress may be connected in part to their perceptions of past childhood bullying victimization experiences.”
Hampton told the Daily News that she suffered from nightmares, stress, and depression as a result of the bullying. At one point, she was hospitalized for health issues.
While the app seems simple, it could change lives. More and more people need to learn and use this app. It is important for children to know they are not alone. Growing up and constantly moving, an app like this would have been an effective way of discovering the people who were willing to lend an open hand.
Bullying is a serious problem and over time can cause harm. Often, mental health issues and addiction are ways of numbing the pain from past emotional trauma. If you are struggling with any of these problems, please call today. We are here to help.
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