California Teen Builds an App to End Lunchtime Bullying

The end of eating alone

For middle school, high school, and even college students, lunchtime can be a harrowing experience. It’s often the lunchroom where social hierarchies, bullying, and pettiness become most apparent with individuals being shunned or forced to eat alone for reasons as trivial as what they are wearing that ay. After being forced to eat alone every day of 7th grade, Natalie Hampton, a 16-year-old from Sherman Oaks, California decided that she wanted to do something to improve the lunchtime experience for generations of young people to come. On September 9th, she launched an app she created called “Sit With Us.”

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In the app, individuals in school cafeterias can sign up as “ambassadors,” indicating that they are looking for people to sit with at lunch. Then, people worried about having a place to sit can anonymously log on, check out who the ambassadors are, and join them for a lunch free of vulnerability, bullying, and rejection.  Via her app, Hampton is demonstrating the importance of young people taking meaningful action to lead the charge against bullying. Hampton ultimately hopes that “Sit with Us” can turn lunchtime into a positive experience, or should we say a “piece of cake” for already stressed-out teens

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Featured Image Source: Anicia Padilla