13-year-old from Fairfax County aiming to create bullying heatma - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

13-year-old from Fairfax County aiming to create bullying heatmap

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Viraj Puri Viraj Puri
GREAT FALLS, Va. -

It's going to take a good deal of time and energy, but a young man from Great Falls, Va., says his mission to map and then end the scourge of cyber-bullying hits close to home.

Viraj Puri is a tech-savvy 13-year-old eighth grader hoping to use the internet to help save lives.

"I think it's really heartbreaking to see that just by some Facebook post or some Twitter tweet that's hurting someone's feelings, you know, they can even take their own life and they're still so young," Puri tells us.

His compassion is born of an older brother's torment when bullied at school several years ago.

"And that really affected him and me because I'm really close to my brother,” he says. “So this experience made me want to do something so that no child or teen or anybody has to ever go through that again. So that's how I really came up with the idea of Bullyvention."

Bullyvention is what he calls his anti-bullying blog.

"He saw his brother going through a lot of pain," says Viraj's mother, Aparna Puri. "It did affect us completely as a family."

She recalls feeling helpless.

"Bullying is not like a wound where you can put a Band-Aid and it will go away,” she says.

Viraj's attempt at healing comes in the form of a "heatmap" that will show where cases of bullying have been reported or made news.

"I want teens to know or parents to know that where bullying would occur the most and where it occurs less all across the nation," he says.

Puri has met with members of Congress, including some in the Anti-Bullying Caucus, to try to strengthen the law.

"His anger towards the kids who were bullying his brother was negative," Mrs. Puri says. "Anger is always negative. But to make something out of it … I think it's brilliant."

If you suspect somebody you love is being bullied in person or online, the experts say don't ignore it. Don't think kids can work it out without help from adults.

Online:

http://www.bullyvention.com/


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