THURSDAY 28 NOV 2019 5:16 PM


The BBC has collaborated with Manchester digital studio Code Computerlove to create a new mobile app designed to help young people make smart choices, feel more confident and access advice.

The Own It app uses a combination of self-reporting and machine learning to build up a picture of a child’s digital wellbeing. It serves relevant content, information and interventions designed to help them understand the impact that their online behaviour can have on themselves and others.

The BBC and Code Computerlove developed the app using an in-depth audience research and prototype testing process. Key features include:

An analysis keyboard, which detects the sentiment of messages and interjects with helpful advice to prevent negativity or bullying.

Users can keep a diary of their emotions and record how they’re feeling and why. If their behaviour strays outside safe and sensible norms the app can offer help and support.

Children can access the app at any time to get instant, on-screen advice and support.

Code Computerlove design director Chris Heg said: “The BBC had already launched the Own It website, which is full of fun and empowering tips, insight, stories and advice to help 8-12 year olds get the most out of their time online, when they approached us to help them explore the potential of the app. 

“We started with three design sprints, each one tailored to tackle a specific challenge. Sprint one aimed to answer the question ‘How might we create an app that supports children’s emotional wellbeing online and helps them develop key skills to build resilience?’ 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.

“Sprint two was aimed at exploring the look and feel of the app further. Regular user testing sessions with our target age group of 8-12 year olds helped us gain valuable insights and evolve the design.

“Off the back of this, we put together a detailed document that outlined how the design had been considered from an accessibility point of view, and what actions had been taken to make the app usable for as many people as possible. The BBC’s Own It brand was applied across key screens alongside a full style guide.

“In the final design sprint, we created a high-fidelity prototype that looked and felt like a real app. Showcasing the fun features we’d designed, the prototype aimed to show off its full potential.

“It has been an exceptionally rewarding project to have been part of and we were particularly proud when the the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tested the app on live TV.

“Digital wellness is a big global concern and kids have specific needs. 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.”

The app can be downloaded from the Apple or GooglePlay app store.