Northern Ireland news

Belfast teenagers develop revolutionary anti-bullying app

Belfast teenagers Gareth Wright (left) and Mason Robinson (right) have developed the anti-bullying app Pocket Pal
Gareth McKeown

TWO aspiring young entrepreneurs have developed a mobile phone app to help tackle bullying in schools.

Belfast teenagers Mason Robinson and Gareth Wright, both 17, have this month released the support service 'Pocket Pal'.

Mason, a pupil at Ashfield Boys' High School and Gareth, a former student at Dundonald High School, hope that the app can help reduce the numbers of young people taking their own lives as a result of bullying.

"Bullying can lead to suicide, so by talking to a teacher through the app for a few extra minutes this could be the difference between life and death," Mason said.

Currently in the prototype phase, the app allows students to create their own private and personal account to 'live chat' to their school councillor or senior teacher who can then deal with issues raised.

"When the councillor is not able to chat then other vital resources such as web links and phone numbers with opening hours will be stated, giving the information that is needed," Mason said.

"There is also an emergency button that allows the students to directly connect to a Childline administrator."

He added: "This app is not all about reporting bullying issues, it is to make the bullied victim hear their own voice and become stronger in a professional manner that doesn't involve foul language or fighting. This will allow them to stand up for themselves if bullying occurs at another time."

Pocket Pal is currently available as an app, but the pair hope to raise funds to develop the full product. For more information email masonrobinson427@gmail.com

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