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William supports BBC’s new internet safety app

The Duke of Cambridge launched a cyberbullying taskforce to help keep youngsters safe online.

The Duke of Cambridge has publicly backed a new BBC app aimed at supporting children while online (Ben Stansall/PA)
The Duke of Cambridge has publicly backed a new BBC app aimed at supporting children while online (Ben Stansall/PA)

By Tony Jones, PA Court Correspondent

The Duke of Cambridge has praised a new BBC app which aims to support young people navigating the online world.

William, who set up a taskforce to target cyberbullying, described the initiative as “fantastic” as the broadcaster launched its BBC Own It app.

It features a special keyboard and combines machine-learning technology with the ability to keep a diary of a youngster’s emotions to allow them to record how they are feeling and why.

In response, the app can offer help and support, giving advice if their behaviour strays outside safe and sensible norms.

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William talks with LastMinute.com co-founder Brent Hoberman, chairman of his cyberbullying taskforce, ahead of a meeting of the panel at Google’s offices in London (Tolga Akmen/PA)

The duke said: “It is fantastic the BBC has launched an app which will provide support to young people as they navigate the online world.

“I am delighted to see this positive and practical outcome resulting from the Royal Foundation Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying.”

The app has been developed with input and support from many of the organisations that are part of William’s taskforce, which has the BBC as a founder member.

These included major companies like Google and Apple, the Diana Award, NSPCC and the Anti-Bullying Alliance.

When the app is used its keyboard will appear whenever a keyboard pops up – offering real-time help and advice about whatever a child is typing.

It can also recognise if a child types personal details and reminds them to think twice about whether it is safe to share.

The app will also encourage young people to have honest and regular conversations with their parents about their online experiences and crucially, it will not provide reports or feedback to parents and nothing the child types leaves their phone.

Alice Webb, director of BBC Children’s and Education said: “We’re using cutting edge machine learning technology in a way no one has done before, putting help, support, assistance and a bit of fun too directly into young people’s hands at the moments when they need it most.”

PA

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