The BBC wants to help kids have healthy and positive interactions online, and it’s hoping its new Own It app will do just that. The app is centered around a keyboard that pops up whenever a user begins to type. If the message is negative, the app can offer support, give advice and recommend talking to a trusted adult.
The app uses machine learning and can recognize when, for instance, a child is typing personal details. It will remind them to think twice about whether it’s safe to share. Or, if a child is typing a message that will upset the recipient, the app will ask if they really want to send it. Own It comes with a diary that lets kids record how they’re feeling and why, and it has features to limit screen time and promote general digital wellbeing. While the app will encourage users to have open, honest conversations with parents and trusted adults, it will not provide reports or feedback to parents.
The app was developed with input and support from The Duke of Cambridge’s Cyberbullying Taskforce, and it’s been in development since 2018. It’s available today, though unfortunately, you’ll have to be in the UK to access it.