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Avni Upadhyaya







The ‘KidGuard for Education’ Essay Scholarship is part of KidGuard’s effort to bring awareness and inspire solutions on issues such as cyber bullying, online predators, teen suicide and childhood depression in the age of technology. 

Cyberbullying affects almost 25% of the children in the United States. It hurts your friends, neighbors, and classmates, and you may not even be aware of it. We cannot stand by and watch confidence and self-worth be destroyed with a click of a mouse. With the developments in technology, parents, peers, and students must create a safe environment that has the power to cultivate kindness and respect. Together, we have the ability to shine light on this critical issue that often goes unnoticed. Let us work together to raise awareness and crush cyberbullying definitively.

" My academic goals include attending a four-year University and earning a Bachelor's Degree in Microbiology. Ultimately, I would like to become a medical doctor with a specialty in Immunology. "

Vivian Chavira

It's important to raise awareness of cyberbullying because of the dramatic increase of tech use, especially by teens. With the use of technology, anyone can be a bully. There are no more stereotypical bullies with big muscles and mean faces, because now, even the scrawniest and smallest of people can harass others safely behind a screen while remaining anonymous. It's critical that this form of bullying is recognized for its widespread use by teens at school, and even by adults in the workplace, especially since it can lead to increased suicide rates for those being targeted.

" In the future, I want to apply and hopefully get accepted to Brown University and study marine biology. Once I graduate, I want to move to Australia to study the waters around the Great Barrier Reef to try and improve the ecosystem around it that has been polluted by poor environmental policies, so that hopefully, some sections of the reef can survive and continue to sustain the sea life around it. "

Chi Tun Lam

Why raising awareness regarding cyberbullying is important? The modern bully is no longer restricted to the playground. The modern bullying victim is no longer offered respite once out of physical reach of the bully. As with many other inventions, the internet is a double-edged sword. It amplifies voices, and makes them more noticeable, more constant, permeating into our private lives through digital screens. It could rally people into a united front to overthrow a dictatorship (such was its role during the Arab Spring), or it could make the lives of victims of cyberbullying unbearable. Such contrasts in scale: that is the power of the digital age, to affect lives across the fleeting dimensions of space and time, affecting entire states but also single individuals. This makes cyberbullying particularly dangerous, more so than it appears. While physical bullying is more obvious and confrontational, and deserves our attention as well, cyberbullying is much harder to pinpoint, to identify, and to remedy. First off, we have to define what constitutes cyberbullying. Is it merely sending impolite messages or posts enough? At which point does making fun of peers through social media become cyberbullying? One danger of cyberbullying is that it is much more likely that the perpetrators of cyberbullying does not even recognize that they are doing so. They might think they’re just having some harmless fun by posting embarrassing content of their friend, but they would not know the psychological impact their actions have on the victim, and they would unknowingly become bullies behind the veil of the internet. More often than not, psychological damage is more discreet, more subtle, but more impactful than physical hurt. Bullying affects victims due to its psychologically harmful characteristics more than physical pain; cyberbullying brings this psychological harm beyond the physical sphere, allowing it to enter the private lives of the victims through their electronic devices. This applies not only to the victims, but also the audience. Cyberbullying reaches a much wider audience than traditional bullying, and even encourages others to join in as it is not that apparent that it is bullying (as mentioned before). Not many people are too fond of direct, confrontational bullying, but behind their screens, they might be much more prone to contribute to embarrassing a certain person for “fun”, or to “tease” them.

Hence, it is important for us to learn to recognize cyberbullying when it occurs, and prevent it from happening by educating children on what constitutes cyberbullying. The very nature of cyberbullying gives it a larger scale, wider impact, and higher participation than traditional bullying, while being less easily identifiable, and more discreet. This is exactly why, with the continuing growth of internet users, we should exhort people to pay more attention to this issue, starting early, before it becomes too widespread. 

I am going into my Junior year at Columbia University, and I will be majoring in Economics-Political Science. I hope to learn about the links between Politics and Economics, and the way the two determines the how the world functions, as well as their inherent interconnectedness. In the past two years, I have learned about a broad range of subjects ranging from Human Rights to Comparative Political Institutions, and I have come to become quite interested in legal analysis and application. However, I have done most of these in the context of the public sphere, and I hope to have the opportunity to gain insights into law in the private sector. Following my graduation, I would likely seek to work in a multi-national corporation, as I really appreciate environments where there is a mix of different cultures and perspectives. However, at some point in the future, I hope to apply for law school, and go into corporate law, before perhaps work on issues regarding international law or human rights after several years."

Alexander Makarov

Early adoption of online life among children is inevitable and crucial for kids’ development in modern technology driven society, but it brings some significant risks. Inappropriate and dangerous aspects of online communication, such as cyberbullying, could be the reason under the teenage depression, disturbance of their sexual development and even suicide. Moreover, there is a significant gap in the level of the kids' exposure to cyberbullying and parents’ awareness of the risk: ~30% of kids exposed, and only ~4% of parents know. Parents do not see from day-to-day interaction with their kids, if their kids are exposed to those risks. That's why raising awareness regarding online harassment and cyberbullying is particularly important.

" I am obtaining full-time MBA degree at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University with focus on Strategy, Economics, and Innovation. I am delighted to learn from one of the best faculty in the world and meet likeminded young professionals at Kellogg. After graduating from the MBA program, I would like to continue my career in management consulting in the US. I am particularly interested in solving strategic business challenges for retail and consumer packaged goods companies. "