Sunday 25 September 2016

Irish primary school kids devise the 'Bullybug' - a wrist band to stamp out bullying

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Published 28/12/2015 | 17:49

A prototype of the 'Bullybug'. Credit: St Audoen's School
A prototype of the 'Bullybug'. Credit: St Audoen's School
The 'Bullybug' boys and girls being crowned regional winners. Credit: St Audoen's website

Bullying is an age old problem; something that both teachers and parents often struggle to address.

  • Go To

As is often the case in life, those best placed to offer advice are those who have experience of the situation at hand.

Therefore, a new anti-bullying aid, 'Bullybug', might be well placed to succeed.

Heralded as a ground-breaking anti-bullying aid, it came about when a group of primary school children from St Audoen's School in Dublin were asked to devise 'a solution to a problem that they experienced on a daily basis'.

"The Bullybug is a ladybird-shaped wrist band which can be matched to the colour of any school uniform, and looks like a bracelet,"11-year-old Head of Market Research at Bullybug Ben Hughes told Independent.ie.

"After buying the Bullybug the purchaser registers with the Bullybug app online where there's advice on how to deal with a bully," he said.

"When a bullying incident occurs the child presses the button on the wristband and a message is sent to a parent or guardian."

Soon the invention will become a reality, much to the excitement of its inventors - Ben Hughes, Chloe Long, Daniel McCann, Katelyn Magee and Nadine Costello.

Last month, the young students were invited to show off their idea at the Web Summit in Dublin, and unveiled a slick prototype to a 4,000-strong enthusiastic crowd.

"We didn't know what to expect at all," said Eilish Meagher, Principal at St Audoen's School.

"The stage was just huge and the audience was simply enormous."

"But the kids were so confident, they really did us proud."

So how did the Bullybug come into being?

In May 2015, a Dublin charity called 'The Solas Project' paired local school children with mentors from the business world, challenging them to come up with a solution to a problem they experience in their daily lives.

St Audoen's school was paired with the 'Boys and Girls' creative agency, a Dublin-based business that specialise in advertising and branding, and 8bytes, a mobile and web app developer, who worked to create the requisite software to operate in tandem with the prototype.

The Bullybug team were victorious at the Dublin Community Finals in May 2015 with the judges declaring that the children had demonstrated a huge amount of passion for the project.

The children explained that bullying is something that they are extremely aware of on a daily basis.

"Bullying is a problem and we are lucky because in our school we try to express our feelings.

"The camera records exactly what is being said or done.

"We feel that it will help to stop bullying," Chloe Long (11) Customer Services Manager with Bullybug told Independent.ie.

Soon after the Web Summit, two prominent multinational tech companies expressed an interest in the pupils' idea.

"We are very excited to see what happens next. I've always been interested in business and inventing products," Nadine Costello (11), Head of Accounts at Bullybug said.

The Bullybug team hopes that the device becomes a nationwide initiative.

“The interest has been so very impressive," says Kris Clarkin of Boys and Girls, and proud Bullybug mentor.

”When you have an expert in the field saying 'this could be viable', it’s a great endorsement."

Meanwhile Product Development Officer at Bullybug, Katelynn Magee (12), described the excitement that has befallen the group of inventors.

"We are so, so, so excited because we know that it's a really, really good idea.

"The Bullybug will be sold in shops and in schools," she said.

Online Editors

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News