huffingtonpost.com
Teen Makes 'Sit With Us' App That Helps Students Find Lunch Buddies
‘Sit With Us’ also aims to help reduce bullying.

“A new app makes finding friends in the school cafeteria a piece of cake.

Sit With Us” helps students who have difficulty finding a place to sit locate a welcoming group in the lunchroom.

The app allows students to designate themselves as “ambassadors,” thereby inviting others to join them. Ambassadors can then post “open lunch” events, which signal to anyone seeking company that they’re invited to join the ambassadors’ table.

Natalie Hampton, a 16-year-old from Sherman Oaks, California, is the designer of Sit With Us, which launched on September 9. She was inspired to create it after she ate alone her entire seventh grade year, she told LA Daily News. The situation left Hampton feeling vulnerable and made her a target for bullying.

Hampton, now a junior, is attending a different school and is thriving socially. Yet, the memory of sitting alone and being bullied still haunts her, especially since she knows her experience isn’t an isolated one.

Hampton told Audie Cornish on NPR’s “All Things Considered” that the reason why she felt an app like this was necessary is because it prevents kids from being publicly rejected and being considered social outcasts by their peers.

“This way it’s very private. It’s through the phone. No one else has to know,” she explained to Cornish. “And you know that you’re not going to be rejected once you get to the table.”

Hampton might be on to something even more, especially since she’s asking fellow students to take the stand against bullying.

When students ― especially the “cool kids” ― stand up to bullying, it has a significant impact, according to a study conducted by Princeton, Rutgers and Yale University. During a 2012-2013 school year, over 50 New Jersey middle schools provided their most socially competent students with social media tools and encouragement to combat bullying, and saw a reduction in student conflict reports by 30 percent.”

Read the full piece here

GREAT WORK NATALIE!!!! 

READERS THE APP LAUNCHED LAST WEEK - YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE FREE APP HERE

This just popped into my mind today, for no reason. Haven’t thought about this in years.

So when I was about nine or ten, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays my sister and I would go to after-school club, and stay there until about 5 or 6, which is when our mum would finish work and pick us up. Dad picked us up at the normal time on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Now, I loved after-school club. We got to play for an extra hour before we settled down to do our homework, and when the sessions started, we got donuts for snacks! Donuts were not a big thing in our house. 

The only downside was that it brought me into close proximity with two girls from my sister’s year. They were snotty and snobby and apparently what they liked best, when forced into close proximity with a bunch of younger girls, was teasing and making fun of us. Especially me. They’d mockingly repeat things I said in order to make me angry, and when I told them that I was beginning to lose my temper, they just took that and made it into a catchphrase to use around me. Remembering the way they said it - “I am begINNing - to LOSE -my TEMPAH!” still makes me furious.

 I didn’t hate them, because it wasn’t like they were constantly doing it all the time - they kept to their own age group on the playground during the day, and my sister usually came along to get them to go away during after-school club - but I sure as hell didn’t like them.

One day when we were all arriving at the start of after-school and the girls were teasing me again, I finally had enough, and told the dominant one of the pair (the other girl mostly just backed her up) that if she kept on teasing me, I was going to hit her. She just laughed, because really? Really. She went away, but I still felt like an idiot for saying it.

Fast forward to playtime, and I was digging through the skipping rope box, when who should come up but the girl again. “Go on, then, hit me!” she said in her whiny, snooty, self-satisfied voice.

I don’t remember thinking precisely this, but the animal part of my brain obviously quickly concluded that 

  1. She was a hell of a lot taller than me, and any punch I landed wasn’t going to do much good. Plus she might hit me back.
  2. Or just laugh at me, which would be even worse. 
  3. If I didn’t do anything except glare at her, she would never leave me alone and use this to mock me too. 
  4. Plus, well, she did dare me to do it. If someone told or dared me to do something, I automatically went ahead and did it.
  5. And I also had a weapon.

So, as hard as I could, I whacked her over the knuckles with a knotted up skipping rope.

She squealed in pain. The look on her face! She couldn’t believe what I’d done to her. The whiny voice started up again, without the snootiness: “Oooooowwwww! That hurt! I’m telling!”

And off she ran to one of the supervising teachers, to tell. With me shouting after her, “You asked me to hit you, so I hit you!”

We both got told off, which was fair enough, but since I pointed out what the girl been doing to me over the past few weeks, and since she admitted that yeah, she had basically dared me to hit her, the teacher told her that maybe this would teach her not to be nasty to people. And also to stop acting like a baby and grow up.

And she never teased me again.