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BBC launches 'digital wellbeing' Own It app for children

The BBC has created a "wellbeing" smartphone app called Own It aimed at children. It monitors how young people interact with friends and family online and through messaging apps. It uses AI to evaluate a child's mood so it can offer advice or encourage them to talk to trusted adults. The app is designed to offer help and support especially if children are about to share sensitive data or send an upsetting message.

"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," said Alice Webb, director of Children's BBC, in a statement. Ms Webb said the app would act as a "helping hand" to guide children into developing good habits when using their first phone and avoid some of the potential pitfalls of digital life.

The app is built around a special software keyboard that pops up when children type messages and monitors the tone of the words being typed and language used. The Own It app also has its own content that aims to help children manage the amount of time they spend looking at their screen and passes on other advice about responsible online interaction.

The BBC said the app would also regularly encourage children to talk to parents and guardians about good and bad online experiences and their phone use. The app has no reporting system that parents can consult to oversee phone use, said the BBC. 

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Keeping children safe online.