back to article Good old Auntie Beeb's mobile app berates kids for being rubbish online

The BBC has launched a mobile app – Own It – with a Beeb-approved interface aimed at keeping kids safer online when using baby's first smartphone. The app's qwerty keyboard is meant to track the child's mood and offer advice as they write. This will include warnings if the app decides a child is sharing too much information or …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice in principle..

    ... but opening itself up to lawsuits when things don't work perfectly?

    Also, not really the remit of the bbc.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Nice in principle..

      That old chestnut? In that case they should have never done TV, only radio.

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: Nice in principle..

        A bit harsh but a valid point nonetheless.. Embracing new media is what the BBC do... or used to. BUT acting as 'police' for the child's behaviour is... to me, a bit outside the remit, which is what the OP probably meant.

        They should be looking more at their own innate political bias, which is proof of professor schroedinger's theorem. Depending on who views their output, they are biased either way.

        Although that laura kuenssberg is very definitely gunning for the right wing

        1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: Nice in principle..

          Although that laura kuenssberg is very definitely gunning for the right wing

          That could be mis-interpreted. Usually 'gunning for' means 'is out to get', i.e. she doesn't like the right wing. So very, very far from the truth... Have you seen the way she looks at BloJob?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nice in principle..

          > "Embracing new media is what the BBC do... or used to. BUT acting as 'police' for the child's behaviour is... to me, a bit outside the remit, which is what the OP probably meant."

          Exactly my point, and, no offence, but I thought it was pretty obvious when I said so after mentioning the posibiliy of them being sued.

          Dan 55, I don't think there is any danger of the BBC being sued for writing a programme guide app, or the latest version of i-player...

        3. HmYiss

          Re: Nice in principle..

          'Embracing new media is what the BBC do.'

          And kids.. They love embracing kids.

          Keep watching, idiots... and don't forget to get your little muchkins groomed up on all those specialist kiddywink services... oh and don't forget to pay for it all too, there's a good little slave.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nice in principle..

        Tv is media. The logical extension to radio when the technology appeared.

        If you think that's the same as policing kids and monitoring their mental welfare, then I assume you'd say "that old chestnut" in response to complaints about anything they might ever try to do...

        "You don't think the BBC should own a football team, or working on new rockets? That old chestnut"!

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Nice in principle..

          It's a short step from radio and TV to the Internet, and as the BBC does children's TV and educational programmes, a short step from there to social media.

          And really, we need all the help we can get to stop American social media companies preying on children. Their only thought is to build a profile which follows them around for life so they can sell adverts aimed at them.

        2. STOP_FORTH
          Trollface

          Mission Creep at the Beeb

          Way back in the Eighties there were wise and intelligent Directors General at the BBC. One of them introduced Producer Choice. This was intended to bring some financial accountability to the BBC. Everybody charged everybody else for everything and every unit became a profit centre. (There were a few exceptions, I suspect all the chaps in grey suits were exempt.)

          Anyway, the rumour was that Pebble Mill worked out that they could make more money per hour by hiring out their TV studio for public meetings rather than actually making TV programmes themselves. Those nice people from the National Front tried to hire it, but somebody in London got cold feet and told Birmingham off!

      3. RegGuy1

        Re: Nice in principle..

        Indeed. Think how much better the world would be without those awful Saturday night TV programmes.

        Strictly, The Generation Game, etc.

        And also there would be no Eastenders -- woo hoo!

        1. macjules Silver badge

          Re: Nice in principle..

          And, most important, no Jim’ll Fix It.

          Perhaps the BBC trustees should have an app that rewrites everything to say, “we are so sorry that your child was sexually abused by one of our employees”.

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Nice in principle..

      The three Reithian principles of the BBC are "Inform", "Educate" and "Entertain". This would fall under "Educate".

    3. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Nice in principle..

      Quite. Much like BBC Scotland, a complete waste of our license fees.

  2. Bloodbeastterror

    Goatse

    Thanks for that. Something that I can never unsee... :-)

    1. quartzz

      Re: Goatse

      I've just lost the game. I'm one of 4 internet users who so far has not seen 'tse, or 1 cup. can't guarantee by end of today tho. hmm.

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: Goatse

        Goatse lost its shock value as soon as everyone knew what it depicted. It's now much more fun to rickroll people

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Goatse

          Fun?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Goatse

            You mean you don't enjoy listening to Rick?

            I didn't know that was even possible....

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: Goatse

              Oh, I enjoy the Rickster. I just don't understand how anyone can derive entertainment from Rickrolling - it's almost as if there was something inherently bad or unpleasant about a surprise dose of Never Going To Give You Up.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Goatse

                My brain is full of completely useless stuff.

                Any Youtube link with dQw4w9WgXcQ is recognised without clicking on it...

      2. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge
        Joke

        Re: Goatse

        While we're at it, Tubgirl and Lemon party are two things you should very definitely look up.

  3. petef

    I thought that our licence fee was meant to pay for huge fees to stars (or their PSCs) quality programmes. This looks to be out of scope.

    1. Suricou Raven Silver badge

      The BBC has long been trying to stay relevant as consumer choice broadens and tastes change. Sure, they are among the best around when it comes to making top-notch documentary programs - but good documentaries are among the most expensive programs to produce, and generally get very poor viewing figures. It's really hard for them to compete with the much higher-budget non-fiction produced in the US. As much as people love to complain about the excessively high pay, the BBC budget is dwarfed by most of the American television producers. Four billion pounds a year an annual budget? News Corporation alone pulls almost twice that in annual revenue.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      The BBC has always had a social charter and their R&D department has been involved for many years in technologies that advance communications. Was it out-of-scope for them to work on DVB? NICAM? Teletext? DAB? Freeview? Loudspeakers used in OB? Videotape? Measurement references for sound, vision etc?

      1. Barrie Shepherd

        "Was it out-of-scope for them to work on DVB? NICAM? Teletext? DAB? Freeview? Loudspeakers used in OB? Videotape?"

        Not at all - those are all technologies that benefit the whole BBC audience embracing the License Payers and advancing the delivery of programming.

        Spending money developing an APP, that is not even related to watching or listening to BBC output, only benefits a section of society that does not pay a license fee while scrubbing the Red Spot Teletext service is not, in my view, appropriate.

        It's bad enough that I have to keep telling them I am over 18 on the iView screen than to have kids only APPS dragging funds away from programming.

        This will end up as another device parents will use to abdicate their responsibilities. "Oh I thought Johnny was using the BBC Well Being APP so did not think I needed to educate him not to text pics of his bits"

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Good points, but I still maintain that The BBC are digital disrupters, and their online offerings might set a standard.

          1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

            I'm surprised noone mentioned the BBC Micro.

            1. TheVogon Silver badge

              The BBC got paid to put their name on a Research Machines product. Not the same at all as wasting our money on an app not related to TV or radio viewing.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still tracks users...

    Decompiling the APK you have things like:

    "gaTrackingId": "UA-130175745-1",

    They also have pre-coded a decommissioned message, I wonder how long they'll keep this up for?

    "Decommissioned": false,

    "DecommissionedMessage": "OwnIt has been shut down and is no longer in use."

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Still tracks users...

      Can't find an Exodus report for it yet but it's odd how, for a keyboard which doesn't use the Internet, it has full network access.

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Still tracks users...

      when deviceStreamingContentAtTransmissionTime and homeLocationDoesNotHaveTVLicence

      reportUserToTVLicenceEnforcement

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Still tracks users...

        I hate that now the BBC Radio website is now the hipper BBC Sounds they want you to log in every time you go near one of their programmes. I generally just want to see the details of the programme so I can decide if it's worth listening to!!!

        (I normally end up going via the programme's home page rather than clicking on an episode)

    3. John Sager

      Re: Still tracks users...

      Perhaps the whole raison d' être is tracking users, and when they've got enough info for their nefarious purposes they'll shut it down.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I dunno....

    One of the first things I tell people that want to be safer online is...

    Not to install any third party apps!

    1. mrmond

      Re: I dunno....

      Excellent. Make do with only the apps that come installed on your phone?

      One of the first things I tell people that want to be safer online is...

      *Be careful* about installing third party apps!

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: I dunno....

        I used to have a Q10 BB10, we had no choice.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    never leaves the Own It app on your phone

    I smell a rat. Big, filthy, and lying through its rotten teeth (unlike the cutie-cutie ratty on horrible histories)

  7. Ian Emery Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Smiles at the thought of slipping it onto BOBS phone.

    Of course, he would probably blame Hillary.

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