Prince William is lending his support to a new initiative encouraging young people to rethink their online interactions.
BBC just launched the new Own It app, which recognizes if a child is typing something that could be upsetting to the person receiving it and reminds them to rethink what they’re about to send. It can also identify language suggesting a child is in trouble, allowing it to offer advice and encourage them to speak with a trusted adult.
The app also features a special keyboard that allows children to record how they’re feeling, offering support and giving advice if their behavior raises any red flags.
BBC Own It also focuses on promoting a healthy amount of screen time.
Although the app will encourage digital well-being and offer support to those who need it, the child’s phone activity is not shared with parents, providing a safe space where they don’t feel like they’re being monitored.
The app has been developed with input and support from many of the organizations and individuals that made up Prince William‘s Cyberbullying Taskforce.
“It is fantastic the BBC has launched an app which will provide support
to young people as they navigate the online world,” William, 37, said in a statement. “I am delighted to see this positive and practical outcome resulting from The Royal Foundation Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying.”
The royal couple met young people who wrote and performed in a campaign video for “Stop, Speak, Support,” a code of conduct on what to do when they witness bullying online. They also met parents and children who have been helping guide the latest tech developments from the BBC.
William set up a Cyberbullying task force to tackle the bullying issues online— mainly because since becoming a parent to Prince George, Princess Charlotte and now Prince Louis, he worries about the effects on them and their peers.
In a speech, William said he and Kate have “grappled with this, we felt a distinct absence of guidance. Should we read our children’s messages? Should we allow them to have phones and tablets in their rooms? Who do we report bullying to? We were making up the rules as we went along.”
“We have to acknowledge that much of the early optimism and hope of social media is giving way to very real concern, and even fear about its impact on our lives.” — The Duke of Cambridge #AntiBullyingWeek pic.twitter.com/75cBTvTAgm— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) November 15, 2018
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William told the gathered crowd at the BBC in London that tech companies should “reject the false choice of profits over values.”
“You have powered amazing movements of social change. Surely together you can harness innovation to allow us to fight back against the intolerance and cruelty that has been brought to the surface by your platforms,” he said. “And you have brought families together in ways that were previously unimaginable. Surely you can partner with parents to make the online world a safe place of discovery, friendship and education for their children.”