The launch of Own It, the new wellbeing app for children from the BBC, has been announced today.
Offering advice alongside text and messages typed on a smartphone, the AI-enabled app evaluates the user’s mood to direct useful tips or encourage them to talk to a trusted adult.
The app is designed to particularly offer support to children who are about to share sensitive data or send an unpleasant message or comment. The software keyboard pops up whenever the device’s internal keyboard would and offers real-time advice on what the user is typing. The AI functionality also enables the app to recognise if a child types personal details, or if they use language that indicates they may be in trouble. Appropriate advice will then appear on the screen.
We know many young people struggle to find a healthy online balance, especially when they get their first phones.
– Alice Webb, BBC
Alice Webb, director of BBC Children’s 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.”
Webb explained that the app will help young people “make the most of the time they spend on their phones whilst avoiding some of the pitfalls”.
Intro video from BBC, released in March
Children will also be encouraged to ‘self’report’ how they are feeling through Own It by selecting an emoji that best represents their mood, building up a picture of their wellbeing and providing relevant content to help them understand the impact that their online behaviour has both on themselves and others.
The app also includes original content both from BBC Own IT and from across the rest of the BBC. Resources cover everything from managing screen time to boosting digital wellbeing. It will also encourage young people to have honest conversations with trusted adults about what they encounter online, but will not provide reports or feedback to parents, ensuring privacy and security for users.
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The Duke of Cambridge, a vocal supporter of mental health initiatives for young people, 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.”
Watch this space for info on where to download the app – ET has reached out to the BBC for confirmation.
Update: The BBC has confirmed that the app is available for download on both Android and Apple devices.