The BBC announces new Own It app looking at young people’s wellbeing online

16 Nov 2018 UK SIC

BBC Own It has launched a new ‘Own It’ app to help children getting their first smartphone stay safe online.

The wellbeing app will provide a helping hand to young people who are starting to use social media and the internet more widely. The main aim of the app is to ensure that young people have a healthy experience in the digital world.

The launch of the app, which will be available in early 2019, was announced at an event with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Thursday. The app will use machine-learning technology which will interact with the young people who are asked to self-report their own online activity and moods. The app will provide nudges, a helping hand and advice when the young person’s behaviour changes or could be becoming risky.

As well as being able to access the app when they’re looking for help, the app will run in the background to give them instant, on-screen advice and support the moment they need it. This will include:

  • Analysing how messages and the use of certain words could be perceived by others before they hit send
  • Tracking their mood over time – and guidance on how to improve the situation if it’s needed
  • Showing a message when they are about to share their mobile number on social media before they do so, and why they might want to think twice

Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet and Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre says:

“Since their launch last year, BBC Own It has already created helpful, engaging and supportive content for children on how they can use the internet in a fun, creative and safe way. For children getting their first smartphone, there are many opportunities but also potential risks that come alongside it. Our work across the country talking to children, parents and teachers show that they need practical and easy-to-use strategies to help make sure that their online life is one of opportunity, creativity and learning. We welcome this new app from a trusted source such as the BBC to help children manage their online lives and support them when they may need help.” 

Support for parents on digital wellbeing for their child

Created as part of Childnet’s work in the UK Safer Internet, they have published new guidance for parents about digital wellbeing.

There is age specific guidance for parents of:

Advice for each age bracket includes information about how the age group are interacting with the internet, top tips to help you support young people at this age, and ideas to help you start a conversation about digital wellbeing.

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