At 17 years old, Sadat Rahman received first place in an annual ceremony run by the KidsRights Foundation, The International Children’s Peace Prize, for his efforts to combat online bullying and cybercrimes via an app that allows teenagers to report with confidence, ease, and reassurance.
Reportedly, eight arrests have been made since the launch of the app, including adults who sexually harassed children online. Nearly 2,000 teenagers in his local district of Narail in Bangladesh have utilized the app.
“The fight against cyberbullying is like a war, and in this war, I’m a warrior. If everybody keeps supporting me, then together, we will win this battle against cyberbullying,” Rahman said, in a speech, upon receiving the award at a ceremony in The Hague, Netherlands on November 13th.
The inspiration behind his app came from a tragic story he had heard previously, about a 15-year-old girl, who committed suicide after a series of cyberbullying. He came to realize that a major issue with online bullying amongst younger users, was that they feared reporting it to parents or authority.
His app bypasses this fear.
Upon reporting any online bullying, users are put in touch with volunteer liaisons, who represent or advocate on their behalf to local police or social workers. Other features of the app include educating users on what constitutes sexual predatory behavior and how to avoid it.
Malala Yousafzai, a Nobel laureate of 2014 and previous awardee of the Children’s Peace Prize, spoke at the ceremony via Livestream, when she recognized Rahman’s accomplishments.
“He’s calling on young people all over the world to stop cyberbullying and to help peers in their community who suffer from mental and emotional violence. Sadat is a true changemaker,” said the acclaimed activist.
The award also comprises a €100,000 (£90,000, $118,000) money prize, which Rahman has said would go towards refining and developing the app further, “and hopefully to serve as a model for the rest of the world.”