BBC launches web portal to help children build digital skills


The BBC has announced that it will be launching its own web portal to give vulnerable children the skills that they need to navigate the complex digital world. The ‘Own It’ portal will help youngsters to develop the online skills that they need to operate safely online. ‘Own It’ will be aimed at 9-12 year olds and it will provide guidance on how to deal with cyberbullying and the modern digital culture in which young people live large chunks of their lives via their digital screens.

Support with the real issues

BBC Director-General, Tony Hall, spoke to the Children’s Global Media Summit in Manchester, to explain that the new website was directed at 9-12 year olds, because of research that showed how this age group is particularly pressured by online life and the dilemmas that it raises. He explained that research with young people had flagged up the issues that they wanted help with, and that the Own It site would provide guidance to help them to take control of their online experience and to resist relinquishing control of their life online.

In partnership

The website is being delivered alongside a range of other leading bodies who specialise in child safety online. The site will include discussion forums with young people about cyberbullying and Gemma Cairney, the BBC presenter, will share her own experiences of cyberbullying online. Mr Hall explained that today’s children have significant technological know-how at their fingertips, but said that there was no evidence to suggest that their emotional awareness and development was any more advanced than that of previous generations.

This, he told the audience, resulted in a gap which led young people to becoming particularly vulnerable to bullying online., a professional web development company in London, has worked with many clients to deliver child-friendly websites.

Mr Hall also explained that there should be less focus on restricting digital activities for children and that the BBC believed the focus should be on creating an online world that gave them the freedom that they wanted and the ability to maximise that freedom safely and to express themselves confidently online. The BBC is also investing £34 million into new children’s content and services – the biggest investment in a generation – to ‘reimagine’ how its youngest audiences are served in the coming years.