Anti-Cyberbullying Software Vies for SXSW Award

A finalist in the Innovation in Connecting People category

A plethora of applications and technology products are on display today at SXSW as part of the 2017 Interactive Innovation Awards Finalists Showcase. A total of 65 in all, nominated across 13 different categories of five finalists each. Winners will be announced Tuesday.

The New Economy bracket includes Tokken, a Paypal-like cashless application created in Denver for growers and dispensers of legalized marijuana. The Sci-Fi No Longer category encompasses Nanit, a baby monitor with a full array of analytic tools developed by a New York-based company.

And for Innovation in Connecting People, the finalists include Reword, a public-service tool created by Leo Burnett Melbourne in partnership with headspace, Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation. The application was launched last March to coincide with the country’s National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence.

Reword prompts users of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other settings to consider rewording their comments when cruel or intimidating words are flagged. Think of it as a spellcheck for intentional and unintentional bullying.

From the launch announcement:

Chris Tanti, CEO of headspace, said, “Sadly, online bullying is endemic. We’re encouraged that this is a tangible online tool that will genuinely help change behavior and reduce incidents of bullying.”

Testing has shown that 79 per cent of young people (12-25 years) are willing to reword when they see the red line.

Reword has already won a number of honors, include a Cannes Lions Bronze and an IAB Creative Showcase Award in Australia. The other finalists in the Innovation in Connecting People category are: Blendoor, a job-matching app designed to bolster the diversity of selected candidates; Samsung: Bedtime VR Stories, created by London’s Unit9; the Sydney Opera House’s #comeonin, a real-time campaign aimed at people who posted photos of the famous attraction on Instagram; and Sentio’s Superbook, a shell-casing that transforms an Android phone into the screen of a laptop computer. The African-American founder of Blendoor, Stephanie Lampkin, shares in her company’s video prospectus that her mother, a single mom formerly on welfare, was homeless at the time of her pregnancy.

Update (March 14):
Reword lost out to Blendoor. For a full list of 2017 SXSW Interactive Innovation Award winners, click here.