BBC launches digital wellbeing keyboard aimed at children

The BBC has announced the availability of its Own It keyboard app which aims to improve the digital wellbeing of children. The Own It app is interesting in that it functions as an app but also doubles as a keyboard which you can use across different apps. BBC has baked in machine learning which visually alerts the child if they’re writing something negative, prompting them to rethink whether or not they want to issue the message.

With regards to the in-app experience, users can keep a diary of their emotions and why they’re feeling that way. If the app detects that a child’s “behaviour strays outside safe and sensible norms” the app will offer up advice and support. While the app will let you know if you’re typing negative comments or feeling negative, it also tries to promote good language too. If you say something nice with the keyboard, the reactive face will start smiling to encourage the behaviour.

Image via BBC

Inside the main part of the app are three tabs, in the first tab there are lots of BBC videos about being online, friendship, feelings, and what to do if you need help. In the middle tab, users can leave notes about their mood, and in the third tab, you can tap app bubbles to see how much time you have spent using different apps.

Commenting on the new application, 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. 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.”

You can find the new app over at the Google Play Store now, if you can’t see the app by doing a search, use this direct link to the listing. It’s not clear if the app will be available on iOS, however, it’s not listed in the App Store right now.

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