A one-of-a-kind app has been developed by Renfrewshire students and a hate crime charity to support their mental health and well-being.
The Keep Safe Kids app is available to all children and young people in Renfrewshire and allows them to report bullying and welfare issues directly to their school – the first app in the UK designed to do so.
Over 60 children and youth from Arkleston, Kirklandneuk and St James’ (Paisley) Primary Schools and Castlehead, Paisley Grammar and Renfrew High Schools worked with the award-winning I Am Me Scotland team to develop the app.
Students can make reports any time of the day or night, including making anonymous reports, and their school will pick them up during school hours. This gives students more control over how and when they report their issues to their teachers, which the students told the charity they wanted.
The app also gives children and young people access to a wide range of mental health and wellness help, information and advice from local and national welfare organizations.
Photo: Danni Skelton and Charlie Dobbin of Kirklandneuk Primary – Keep Safe Kids
Craig Orr, a sixth-grader, said he enjoyed being a part of the development of the app.
âAs a young person, I like having this information close at hand and in one place. I think it’s also great that you can hide that you’re using the app if you don’t want others to see you’re there.
âI think being able to get help and report any issues when we’re not in school is a real benefit for a lot of young people. I know some of my friends may not be talking to teachers or anyone at home, but the app gives them a whole new way to communicate.
“It also allows parents and caregivers to support young people with new resources that they may not have known about, or just strengthen the way they support them.”
Charity founder Carol Burt says giving children and youth control over how they report bullying was a priority.
âIt was essential to give students control over how they report bullying, as it ensures that they can easily access support and advice. There is already a great wealth of information, however, young people do not always know how to access it. This is why it was important that children and young people were directly involved in the design of the app, including its appearance and the information available, and as such, they developed a revolutionary app that can be upgraded. available throughout Scotland.
Renfrewshire Council Education Officer Councilor Jim Paterson praised the way the team developed the app with the students.
âThere is no doubt that the pandemic has affected many of our young people with many different challenges and as a board we are committed to supporting the social, emotional and mental well-being of our children and youth. We have a strong anti-bullying policy in place, which we have developed with the anti-bullying charity RespectMe, and this app is a further development of our commitment to ensuring that we educate and help children and youth to treat each other with respect.
The Keep Safe Kids app can be downloaded on iOS and Android.
Main photo: Children and youth at the launch of the Keep Safe Kids app