Client: Headspace
Digital + Motion Design

Bullying has moved from schoolyards to social media. Each year 463,000 young people are bullied online in Australia, and 78% are 10-15 years old.Anti-bullying efforts have traditionally focused on reaction rather than prevention. There’s nothing to prevent it in the first place.We set out to find an innovative way to effect real change online – tackling online bullying behaviour before it happens. Beyond young people, we also targeted parents & educators to support Reword in their community.

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We created Reword, a real-time alert for online bullying. Reword is an educational tool that helps develop young people’s moral compass when they become active on social media. A simple JavaScript tool that integrates with social and messaging platforms, Reword uses a custom lexicon database to identify strings of words that form millions of potential insult combinations. As a child types, regex matching cross-references the database to identify abusive patterns, scanning for insulting phrases and bullying sentiment, not just swearing. When a pattern is found, the child is alerted with a red strikethrough, instantly interrupting behaviour and prompting them to reconsider their words. Children can become co-authors by adding their own bullying terms, helping Reword recognise evolving language and slang. Reword not only protects potential victims, but also stops children from becoming bullies themselves. Don’t bully, and the red line will never appear.

A real-time alert for online bullying
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Creating a new generation that respects each other

The first six weeks showed a distinct behaviour change: 84% of insults detected were reworded. Bullying behaviour per user dropped an incredible 67%. Reword has universal relevance, garnering global coverage on CNN, Wired and Mashable.Now, with support from local governments and expansion to a mobile app, Headspace is committed to implementing Reword in every school nationwide.As Reword grows, so will its impact, creating a new generation that respects each other – online and in real life.

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