Back to school is an important moment for families – and this September has unique challenges compared to previous years. The multi-award-winning BBC Own It keyboard and app is a useful tool to have on your child’s phone as they re-enter the world of classroom learning.
The Own It app will provide a helping hand to your child, supporting their digital wellbeing, showing them how to make smarter and better-informed choices and helping them grow into confident, positive and happy digital citizens.
Using a combination of self-reporting and ‘machine learning’, the app builds up a picture of your child’s digital wellbeing and serves relevant information designed to help your child understand the impact that their online behaviours can have on themselves, and on others, helping them to develop healthy online habits and behaviours, and also encouraging your child to have conversations with you when they are feeling sad or worried.
There are two parts to the app. The first is a custom keyboard. When the child uses the keyboard, the information they type is analysed in real-time and the Own It app uses it to build up a picture of your child’s activity.
Based on this picture, the app will recommend content to the child that might be helpful, or it might intervene as the child is typing something to check that they are happy to share the information with others.
For example, if your child is typing some personal information such as a mobile number or email address, the app will intervene and tell the child to ‘think safe’ before sharing. Or if a child types something that might be an unkind message, the app will intervene and ask them if they really want to say that. If a child types something that indicates they might be sad or worried, the app will intervene and suggest some content that might help them to feel better.
The child is also encouraged to ‘self-report’ how they are feeling within the app itself by selecting an emoji that best reflects their mood. They can also choose to leave a note, just as they might in a diary.
The app will also be able to track some device usage information, such as how many times a child picks up their phone to check for messages/notifications, or if the phone is used at night-time. This information can be used to help the child understand how to develop healthy digital habits.
What happens to the information my child types using the keyboard?
Everything your child types into the keyboard is processed within the app on your child’s phone by the machine learning and then discarded – this happens instantaneously. None of this information is ever passed back to the BBC.
The BBC Own It app is available in the Google Play and Apple app stores and it’s free to download.
Check out the BBC Own It app and keyboard controls & settings guide.
See articles and resources to help children stay safe online.