BBC Own it App and Keyboard for kids | Internet Matters

BBC Own It App

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 app can help kids enjoy the internet and connect with friends much more safely. As well as offering advice and guidance at the moment as children chat to their friends online, throughout September, the app features a collection of tips and tools to support children as they begin the new school year.

What you need know about the Own It app

  • It’s free to download
  • Nothing your child types is shared with the BBC or anyone else
  • It helps kids to make smart choices online

Helping children find balance

It’s really important that children lead a happy and healthy life online, but that balance can become tricky when they get their hands on their first phone.

Maybe their phone notifications are keeping them up at night. Or maybe they’re not sure what information is safe to share online? Or maybe the ‘banter’ is getting a little bit out of hand in the group chat?

Special keyboard to support your child

The BBC Own It app can help, by giving children advice and guidance when they need it the most. The app has a special keyboard that can be used like any other keyboard – to type messages to friends, post on social media or search online – and the clever bit happens while they are typing.

The keyboard uses special technology to check what’s being typed and gives feedback and support, helpful tips and friendly advice. The BBC Own It app also has a diary feature where children can track how they’re feeling.

Everything that a child types using the keyboard is kept completely private, and never leave the app on their device. That means that children can use the keyboard, add notes and track their emotions without worrying about who might see.

HRH The Duke of Cambridge shares a message on the importance of children’s digital wellbeing
Resources document

Check out the BBC Own It app and keyboard controls & settings guide.

See guide
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Download the app from the Apple Store or Google Play, encourage your child to check in with the app a couple of times a day to track how they’re feeling.

How does the app work?

The app and keyboard use specially developed machine learning technology combined with a self reporting function to build a picture of how your child is doing, promoting positive behaviours online and stepping in to help when your child may be struggling.

What does the app come with?

In addition to special keyboard, the app comes with – gifs, videos, emojis, quizzes, articles, top tips and much more.

How does it support children?

  • Helps children deal with the social and friendship issues and the dilemmas of everyday digital life
  • Supports children’s wellbeing online using a combination of self-reflection and self-reporting
  • Intervenes with support for children when there are indications of harm and harmful behaviours

BBC Own It App parent review

Adele Jennings of and Internet Matters parent vlogger shares her review of the BBC Own It app and keyboard.

What’s new on the app?

Help them own it

Find out all about device safety along and help them have positive experiences online with these videos created in partnership with Internet Matters. From your child’s first device to managing screen time, you’re bound to find helpful advice for you.

Back to school

The new back to school trigger words has been added to the keyboard. Throughout September, the app features a collection of tips and tools to support children as they begin the new school year.
Whether it’s advice on reconnecting with friends or transitioning to high school. Safety tips for posting online or encouraging kids to note and reflect on their feelings – the BBC Own It app has got them covered.


With this latest update, additions have included words such as coronavirus, covid, and pandemic.

BBC Own it app - coronavirus image


A new addition to this system is the classification of messages related to coronavirus and isolation. The system will recognise any words or phrases concerning the issue and then measures if the emotion sentiment is anger, fear, or worry.

For example, if a user were to type “I’m so lonely with this isolating”, a passive intervention would be presented supporting the child in understanding that it is okay to be worried and they’re not alone –the user is then offered a link to helpful content within the companion app.

BBC OWN IT app screenshot


These are curated content concentrated on a specific topic. The first two collections launched with this release are The Lowdown Lockdown and Feeling Anxious or Scared?

  • The Lockdown Lowdown – entertaining and informative content that inspires children to live their best digital online life while in isolation – with celebrity contributions from pop stars, YouTubers, and bloggers.
  • Feeling Anxious or Scared? – a collection of videos and articles that provide support for children during a time that they are away from their day-to-day support network of friends. Articles cover how to tackle fears and worries, de-stressing and support in understanding that it is normal to have ups and downs.

BBC OWN IT app screenshot

New tools

There will be a large new suite of chat tools made specifically for children, including positive conversation starters, new emoticons and colourful themes within the keyboard. The app will also have an added feature which helps guide users through wellbeing and supportive content, giving further structure and focus to the app.

Supporting your child’s wellbeing

In addition to using the BBC Own It app, your child will need your help to get the best out of their online experiences. Having ongoing check-ins about what they do online is important. We’ve created a number of guides to help you do just that. See a few of these below to help you manage your child’s digital wellbeing.

Digital resilience toolkit

Give your child a guiding hand as they start their digital journey online with practical tips.

Conversation starter tips

Help children deal with online issues and open up about their digital lives with these simple tips.

New BBC Own It parent advice videos

To make our online safety advice even more accessible to parents, we’ve partnered with BBC Own It to create a range of videos to help parents support children online. Whether it’s getting their first phone, going on social media or managing screen time you’ll get some simple tips to make sure they stay safe. Here is a short clip.  Visit the BBC Own It website to watch all the videos.

Watch parent online safety advice videos that we’ve created with BBC Own It

Related support for your child

To support the work we’ve done for parents on managing inappropriate content online, BBC has created a video for children to guide them on what they should do if they come across anything upsetting online. Check out the video here.

What to do if you’ve seen something online that has upset you
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