California teen invents app that ensures victims of bullying don’t have to eat alone in school cafeterias

It’s sad phenomenon, but kids everywhere are victims of the bullying epidemic, making them feel like pariahs in an institution that should be a part of the most developmental and enriching time of their lives.

For a kid who’s a victim of bullying, walking into a cafeteria during lunchtime can be a daunting thing, considering the tribal atmosphere that can dominate a place where how you socially interact is key to whether your school life is a living hell or not.

Now, thanks to an 11th grader from Sherman Oaks California, bullied kids can search out others who have either shared their experiences or are sympathetic.

Sitting down for an interview with NPR, 16-year-old Natalie Hampton spoke about her creation of a new app called Sit With Us and what inspired its development.

“At my old school, I was completely ostracized by all of my classmates, and so I had to eat lunch alone every day,” Hampton said.

Via Carolyn Hampton

“When you walk into the lunchroom and you see all the tables of everyone sitting there and you know that going up to them would only end in rejection, you feel extremely alone and extremely isolated, and your stomach drops. And you are searching for a place to eat, but you know that if you sit by yourself, there’ll be so much embarrassment that comes with it because people will know and they’ll see you as the girl who has nowhere to sit. So [there are] so many awful feelings that come along with it.”

Hampton then explained how the app works.

“[It’s] a free lunch-planning app where kids can find lunch tables if they feel like they have nowhere to go. Pretty much, kids can sign up as ambassadors for a Sit With Us club and agree to post open lunches so that anyone who has the app and has nowhere to go can find a table and, hopefully, make some new friends.”

Since the app’s launch last week, Hampton is already seeing encouraging results.

“So far, the results have been very, very positive. I had my first club meeting the other day, and everyone was very excited. And people are already posting open lunches at my school. So I’m very excited that things are already kicking off with a great start.”

You can listen to her NPR interview in the audio link below:

Sky Palma

Before launching DeadState back in 2012, Sky Palma has been blogging about politics, social issues and religion for over a decade. He lives in Los Angeles and also enjoys Brazilian jiu jitsu, chess, music and art.

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