Youth Review – BBC Own It

During lockdown, the BBC launched a phone app to tackle online bullying. The BBC Own It app. We asked our teen bloggers to do a youth review on it.

The Own it app is part of the BBC’s commitment to supporting young people in today’s changing digital environment. It will provide a helping hand online by showing you how to make smarter and better informed choices and helping you grow into confident, positive and happy digital citizens.

There are two parts to the app. The first is a custom keyboard which you install at the same time as the app. When you use the keyboard, the information you type is analysed by the app and then recommend content or intervene if it is something potentially unsafe or unkind. There is also a self reporting feature that can help get you some digital support.

In terms of what happens to that data. BBC have stated that personal information, such as IP address and phone ID, is not shared so that any analytical data used cannot be traced back to the user. That said, there is also the ability to switch of sharing analytical data as well.

The app is not a way for parents to monitor their children but a way to give the user, the power and control to make their own decisions. No one, not even parents, will be informed about what you are doing on your phone, by the BBC Own It app.

The idea sounded so good to us, we thought, we would ask the young people we work with, to try it out. So we asked the participants to try the app for 2 weeks. Below are their thoughts. You can find out more about the app here:

Please note, anyone under the age of 13 should always get a parents/carers permission before downloading any apps to their phones.


Youth Review – Katie, 16

The own it app has many parts to it. One part is the daily mood journals. This lets you to choose an emoji for how you feel then gives you a bit of space to explain why. Another part of the app is the own it keyboard, which I don’t like as you have to constantly use it but is otherwise a good app.

Katie’s scores are:

  • How easy was it to sign up – 3 out of 5
  • How easy was it to use – 3 out of 5
  • How secure did it feel – 2 out of 5
  • How well did it do what it was meant to – 3 out of 5
  • How well suited is it for teens – 4 out of 5
  • How likely would you be to recommend it to a friend – 1 out of 5

Katie thought the best thing was the journal and the worst thing was the keyboard.



Youth Review -Maryam, 17

The BBC Own It app is designed to help young people navigate the online world. There are two key elements – the wellness app and the custom keyboard. I used these for a couple of weeks and here’s what I found.


The wellness app is a great tool to help you track your emotions. Every day you report how you feel and the reason of that feeling. If you report a negative feeling, the app will give some advice on how to improve this. There is also a library of all their videos and articles. As well as these, there is a log of your journal entries and screen usage time. This last feature may need work, as it seemed as though I had not used my phone all week – which I definitely had.


The second element to the Own It app is the keyboard. It functions like a regular keyboard, but with extra features. The app analyses the text and displays the tone of it. If you type anything negative, it will give you a warning. This helps you think about what you’re typing and harm it could cause. This feature is incredibly effective. I tried to trick it and it always gave me a warning when I typed something rude or offensive. It also offers help if you find yourself in a worrying situation. It does not function as smoothly as a normal keyboard, but it is great nonetheless, even including emojis and GIFs.


I think the Own It app is definitely worth a try. It has a lot of helpful and entertaining features. It is a good way to keep tabs on your phone usage no matter your age. A couple of features could maybe do with some improvement, but it is still a great app.

Maryam’s scores are:

  • How easy was it to sign up – 4 out of 5
  • How easy was it to use – 4 out of 5
  • How secure did it feel – 4 out of 5
  • How well did it do what it was meant to – 3 out of 5
  • How well suited is it for teens – 3 out of 5
  • How likely would you be to recommend it to a friend – 3 out of 5

Maryam thought the best thing was the the ease of use and the helpful advice and the worst thing was the keyboard does not type very smoothly, and the screen time monitor did not work for me.


Do you or have you used the app and want to share your thoughts? Get in touch.