Calmzilla: Helping Manage Stress in the Middle School World

Updated: Mar 15

Stress is an inevitable part of life. It impacts our ability to function well and reduces our chances of maximizing our potential. It also makes us cranky and unpleasant to be around. Historically, stress seemed to be an issue for adults. However, we have seen more and more stress among our fellow students.

We find ourselves doing more at school, outside, and online, however we still only have 24 hours in a day to accommodate these increasing demands while maintaining our grades. We are often asked to multi-task, so it’s hard to focus. We are being taken from one activity to another so meals tend to be on the go, and what used to be family time has now been taken over by social media interactions where we are in a constant arms race to be more interesting than others.

We are a group of 6th graders (DASA — Danika, Ananya, Sofia and Arushi). This article describes Calmzilla, an AI based app that we created with our parents to help our fellow students with an increasing problem, Middle School Stress.

We wanted to understand this problem better, so we started by talking with our school counselor. She confirmed what we were seeing ourselves, stress is indeed increasing in our school community. We then extended our research to get additional perspectives.

We created a survey that more than a hundred of our fellow students took part in. The results showed us that nearly half of the students reported stress. We also learned that some activities increased stress and some reduced stress!

We also took some time to research the teen stress topic online and found many articles that showed the impact of stress moving downward from adults, to High School Students, to Middle School and even lower!

These were some scary findings and we really felt motivated to do something about it because it is personal, among our friends, in our communities, and aggressively growing at the national and international level. This drove us to invent Calmzilla.

What is Calmzilla?

Calmzilla is an easy to use IPhone app for middle school students and parents.

Students chat with Chai, a friendly Puppy Bot, and answer questions about their day and get recommendations of stress relieving games to play. Internally, our app uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to predict a student’s stress level from their answers and make game recommendations. Parents also get updates over email with insights into how their children are trending with respect to stress. Students can use this app on an i