Especially in this day and age of social media outrage and Donald Trump, online discourse has become increasingly bombastic, accusatory, unforgiving, unyielding, inflexible and just downright mean. Thankfully, an ad agency is taking steps to help eradicate the problem. Or at least point it out.
Working with Australia's National Youth Mental Health Foundation, aka Headspace, Leo Burnett Melbourne has developed a Google Chrome extension called Reword. The extension aims to combat cyberbullying by identifying insulting words and then crossing them out with a red line. It's really more of an identifier versus an eradicator but hey -- half the problem with problems is, well, knowing there’s a problem. And this extension achieves just that; it points out problems.
Of the app, Headspace CEO Chris Tanti said: “Sadly, online bullying is endemic. The pressures on children in social media are intense. Reword is one way we can help empower them in real time. “We’re encouraged that this is a tangible online tool that will genuinely help change behavior and reduce incidents of bullying.”
The app was developed as a result of a study Headspace conducted, which found 79 percent of 12- to-25-year-olds are willing to rephrase something if it has been pointed out that their statement could be hurtful.
While Leo Burnett will also be developing extensions for Firefox and Safari as well, it's a bit of a stretch to assume those filled with hateful words are likely to install something to help edit their hateful speech. But, hey, we have to start somewhere, right?