The BBC has launched an app aimed to encourage young people to have a happier, healthier and more positive life online.
The BBC Own It app combines machine-learning technology with the ability to keep a diary to allow children to record how they’re feeling and why. In response, the app can offer help and support, giving advice if their behaviour strays outside safe and sensible norms.
The app has been developed with input and support from organisations and individuals that made up The Duke of Cambridge’s Cyberbullying Taskforce.
The Duke of Cambridge said: “It is fantastic the BBC has launched an app which will provide support to young people as they navigate the online world. I am delighted to see this positive and practical outcome resulting from The Royal Foundation Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying.”
Children can access the app at any time to get advice and support the moment they need it.
The app’s special keyboard will appear wherever a keyboard would surface normally – and offers real-time help and advice on whatever a child is typing, for example if a child is typing something which might be upsetting to the person receiving it. It can also recognise if a child types personal details and reminds them to think twice about whether it is safe to share.
The app also recognises language that might suggest a child is in trouble and will offer them advice and encourage them to talk to a trusted adult, and is packed with specially commissioned content from BBC Own It and across the rest of the BBC.
The content covers everything from managing screen-time to boosting digital wellbeing, and will encourage young people to have open, honest and regular conversations with their parents about their online experiences. Also, it won’t provide reports or feedback to parents and nothing the child types ever leaves their phone.
Alice Webb, director of BBC childrens and education, said: “The digital world is a fantastic place for people to learn and share, but we know many young people struggle to find a healthy online balance, especially when they get their first phones. Our Own It app gives them a helping hand as they navigate this new experience so that they can make the most of the time they spend on their phones whilst avoiding some of the pitfalls. We’re using cutting edge machine learning technology in a way no one has done before, putting help, support, assistance and a bit of fun too directly into young people’s hands at the moments when they need it most.”