Young people now receive their first connected smartphone between the ages of 8 and 12. They may have used a shared device up to that point, but now, in their hands is their first personal carry-everywhere device.
The internet is a force for good; however it hasn’t been designed specifically for children. With their own smartphone, young people now have access to a glittering array of experiences which they will explore more freely than they would on a shared device. The Own It App is designed to support and guide children as they make that journey.
Own It consists of a custom keyboard and companion application. The keyboard features technology and machine learning that can assess, intervene and provide help for areas including bullying, hate, toxicity, data privacy and emotions. Once installed, the Own It keyboard becomes the default for all text input fields, covering apps and web applications. This allows the system to provide in-the-moment support, in many cases, before a message is sent – encouraging children to stop and think before they share.
The Own It companion app allows the user to see how they are using their device alongside being able to keep a diary of their feelings. Content is presented that aids children in understanding the available insights and guides them to develop resilient behaviours.
Own It uses a unique combination of machine learning and probabilistic methods, entirely encapsulated on-device. This encapsulation provides a means to ensure data privacy is enshrined within the experience.
A blog post detailing the 6 major Own It development challenges can be read here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/internet/entries/94ec41ae-b25b-4e58-9c0f-1b9b2890c281
Own It is now available on the iOS App Store and Android Play Store. It is designed specifically for smartphones. If you have a child who is about to receive their first phone or has recently done so, then get them to install Own It and let me know how you get on.