The BBC and digital agency Code Computerlove have collaborated on an evolved version of the broadcaster’s Own It app, a product aimed at supporting children’s emotional wellbeing and resilience online. Posited as a “first-of-its-kind app” as part of the broadcaster’s intention to help guide young people (aged around 8-12) through a changing digital environment, the app uses self-reporting and machine learning to build a picture of a child’s digital wellbeing. It then serves content, information and interventions to the user, designed to help them understand the impact that their online behaviours can have on themselves, and on others.
One feature is a sentiment analysis keyboard, which in addition to being a regular keyboard, also detects the sentiment of messages and interjects with helpful advice to prevent negativity or bullying. In another section, users can keep a diary of their emotions and record how they’re feeling and why; the app then offers help and support, giving advice if their behaviour strays outside safe and sensible norms.
Children can access the app at any time to get instant, on-screen advice and support the moment they need it.
The BBC had already launched the Own It website when they approached Code Computerlove to develop it further. Workshops between the two companies aimed to not only support kids but help build their resilience, says Code’s design director Chris Heg. “Through a set of exercises designed to unpack the question, identify key challenges and generate ideas, we started to form an app based on self-reporting and self-reflection, all through fun and intuitive interactions,” he explains.
The next stage looked at the graphic design and UX, with regards to aesthetics and accessibility, which was user tested with its target audience. From this, the digital designers built a style guide for the Own It app, before building the last prototypes and then, eventually, the final product. The app launched in September 2019, and has been iterated since then based on user interaction and feedback.
“Digital wellness is a big global concern and kids have specific needs,” continues Heg. “It’s great to be part of the BBC’s ongoing commitment to teach the new generation of mobile users how to be smarter and safer online and importantly help to reduce the negative impact social media is having on children’s mental health.”
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