A 12-year-old has come up with a great idea to help kids with anxiety after suffering from it himself for two years.
Nikolas wishes he had a toy like Bubbles when he had anxiety.
The 12-year-old from Sydney came up with the perfect idea to help kids like him combat the mental illness.
Bubbles is a therapy toy puppy that has touch sensors on its back so that when a child touches it, it can detect their level of anxiety.
It also has ears made of thermoplastic that act as a rubber stress ball so the child can squeeze the dog’s ears to relax.
“I had anxiety for two years and I know a few friends that suffer from anxiety,” Nikolas said.
“I was getting bullied a lot and stuff was getting really stressful.
“If I had Bubbles back then my life would have been amazing.”
Nikolas came up with the idea as part of the Mastercard young inventors challenge.
The nationwide search for aspiring young inventors asked them to come up with a new invention or idea that uses technology to make the world a better place.
“I wanted to use touch to help kids to be happy and to help with anxiety,” Nikolas said.
“Anxiety in children is real. We need to tackle it when kids are young because if left untreated it can lead to other mental health issues such as depression.”
Nikolas’s mum Evelyn said she was blown away when her son came up with Bubbles.
“Seeing Nickolas suffer from anxiety, this could be so useful because not everyone can have a pet,” she said.
“This could help calm him down. There’s a lot of research done on patting.”
Nikolas said to overcome his anxiety he used stress balls and squishies and did meditation with his mum.
New research from Mastercard found 80 per cent of young people in Australia aged between 8 and 15 years old have fears about the future.
The research explored the things children worry about most, with money, education, not getting a job and bushfires being some of the serious issues identified.
Despite these concerns, 90 per cent of young people surveyed believe their generation will be the one to bring about positive change because of their ability to think differently from adults (32 per cent), their creativity (48 per cent) and great ideas (44 per cent).
As the first generation to be born into a fully digital world, Gen Z believes technology and innovation have the power to make the world a better place.
Nikolas will now get to present his idea to a panel of experts at Mastercard’s Innovation Hub at the Australian Open on January 30, with the winner will be announced on the same day.