“Think Like a Girl” app teaches young girls self confidence, interpersonal skills
By Hannah E. Jones
A new smartphone app — “Think Like a Girl” — recently debuted as a resource to help young girls increase their confidence, ability to make good decisions and build healthy relationships with others. The app was released by Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault (GNESA) on Nov. 28.
Until age 12, confidence levels between girls and boys are virtually the same. Once those tween years begin, though, a gap emerges that doesn’t close through adolescence. By age 14, girls are an average of 27 percent less confident than their counterparts, according to a 2018 survey by YPulse.
“Think Like a Girl” aims to counteract this troubling trend. The app features 21 days of challenges that focus on self-improvement for tween and teenage girls. The tasks focus on the building blocks needed for a healthy, well-rounded life including using your voice, increasing confidence, practicing self-care, acting as a leader and being a good friend.
For example, one “Be Confident” challenge encourages the user to write something positive about themselves. In “Love Yourself,” users are asked to reflect on whether they have compared themselves to others that day.
The app also offers space to be creative, with a section to draw and another dedicated to poetry. The idea is to provide a multifaceted virtual space for girls to work through their feelings, learn life skills and have fun.
“[We want them to] grow up feeling important, knowing they can lead and they can raise their hand in the classroom,” GNESA President and CEO Jennifer Bivins said. “This phone application came out of a real desire to support and empower young girls by giving them the resources and tools that they need to feel confident in stepping up and speaking out. In the past, we’re not necessarily taught to do that.”
GNESA is a nonprofit coalition of sexual assault agencies and individuals that aim to end sexual assault. The youth development app was funded through a cooperative agreement with the CDC.
The app’s name, “Think Like a Girl,” was chosen to reclaim a phrase that is often used negatively. The name is one piece of instilling pride into the younger generations.
“‘Stop acting like a girl,’ or ‘you play like a girl,’ have negative connotations,” Bivins said. “We want to reclaim the idea of ‘like a girl.’ It’s powerful to think like a girl.”
The GNESA team has been working on the app for several years and along the way, they enlisted the help of teachers, school counselors and other childhood experts to craft challenges that would be truly impactful for the young users. The team also held focus groups with girls who tested the app and gave feedback.
Inspiring girls to have confidence in themselves is an important mission, but helping these girls navigate their teenage years supports GNESA’s overarching mission of ending sexual violence. Using this resource, users will learn about standing up for themselves and maintaining healthy peer relationships, which are key components of reducing intimate partner violence. However, the app doesn’t focus specifically on intimate partnerships and is appropriate for kids ages 11 and up.
“My hope is they feel confident and empowered to stand up and support themselves, but also their friends. From a prevention standpoint, how powerful would it be for a young girl to talk [with peers] about how important it is to have a healthy peer relationship?”
She added: “It would make me really excited to know we had a small piece in [girls] moving forward and feeling confident and powerful in the work they want to do.”
Click here to learn more and download the app.