The BBC has launched a new Keyboard-based app that it hopes will foster healthier online interaction among younger mobile users.
The new AI-based Own It app will monitor how young people interact with their friends and family within messaging apps.
For example, if the app notices somebody writing “I hate you all”, the wellbeing app will intervene. An unhappy face emoji will be displayed alongside the message “It sounds like you might be angry?”
Tapping the notification will offer some advice or suggest the kid chats to a trusted adult. The idea is to encourage kids to develop good habits when they get access to their first mobile device.
Likewise, if the app believes the message being typed out may upset the recipient then it will ask whether they really want to send it.
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“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,” Alice Webb, director of BBC Children’s.
The app will also advise children on their screen time, while also giving them advice on healthy online interaction. The Beeb also points out the Own It app will not be monitored by parents, who won’t receive any feedback either.
The BBC says the app has been developed in association with The Mental Health Foundation, the Anti-Bullying Alliance, the NSPCC, the Diana Award and Childnet and is backed by the Mental Health Foundation, the Anti-Bullying Alliance, the NSPCC, the Diana Award and Childnet.
Given the social networks aren’t exactly going all out to eliminate cyberbullying and general online unpleasantness, the BBC app seems like a fine idea. Instagram is taking steps to make online interaction less of a competition by hiding public like counts, but it isn’t widely deemed to be enough to end the hate.
“One of the ideas we’re currently experimenting with is like counts private, for instance, because we don’t want Instagram to be such a competition,” Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, told CBS News earlier this year.
He added: “You can still Like [Instagram posts] in this current test. You just can’t see the number of Likes unless it’s your own post. So you don’t have to do all this social comparison.”