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Bangladeshi teen wins children's Peace Prize for fighting cyberbullying


A Bangladeshi teenager made an impassioned plea Friday November 13 for stronger global action against cyberbullying and online crime involving children as he received a prestigious global children's award. 

Sadat Rahman, 17, won the 2020 KidsRights International Children's Peace Prize for developing a mobile app to help teenagers report cyberbullying and cyber-crime in his western district of Narail in Bangladesh.

"The fight against cyberbullying is like a war, and in this war, I am a warrior," Rahman said in an impassioned speech after he was handed the award at a ceremony in The Hague, which was live-streamed due to coronavirus restrictions.

"If everybody keeps supporting me, then together we will win this battle against cyberbullying," he said. The teen vowed to keep fighting online abuse involving children until it is eradicated.

Downloaded around 1,800 times, the app has helped to resolve more than 60 complaints so far -- and has led to the arrest of eight suspected online criminals, including adults who have been sexually harassing children.

Rahman came up with the idea of the "Cyber Teens" mobile app after hearing the story of a 15-year-old girl who experienced cyberbullying and ultimately died by suicide.

The app puts children in touch with a team of youngsters, including Rahman, who then liaise with local police and social workers to help teens too scared or embarrassed to report acts of cyberbullying and cybercrime.

The app also gives helpful tips about online behavior and how to avoid sexual predators.

The award is accompanied by a fund of €100,000 ($118,225), which is invested in projects that are closely linked to the winner's work.

Rahman said he plans to use the money to further develop the app across Bangladesh "and hopefully to serve as a model for the rest of the world."

Previous winners of the prize include Nobel laureate and Pakistani education campaigner Malala Yousafzai and environmental activist Greta Thunberg.