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Young People See Their Idea Come to Life with Launch of New App, Developed by University Students

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A mobile app designed to teach young people how to keep safe on the internet and on the streets, developed by University of Worcester students, has launched.

Computing and Creative Art students from the University of Worcester’s Business School worked on the new app, inspired by the initial idea of local schoolchildren, which gives young users the chance to make choices and see the different outcomes depending on their choice.

Young people can often face tough decisions and situations as they are growing up, be it trying to decide between right and wrong in order to fit in with their peers, or finding they’re the subject of someone’s taunts – making them a victim of crime and unsure what to do about it and who to turn to.

Aware of these potential problems, three girls from St John’s Middle School in Bromsgrove designed an app about keeping safe online and offline as part of a competition held by the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, John Campion, last year.

Their winning idea features a number of video scenarios where the user has to make a choice about what they would do if they found themselves in that situation – which influences how the story ends. The app covers five key themes: bullying, healthy relationships, anti-social behaviour, hate crime and theft.

Students designed and developed the app from the pupils’ initial idea, in consultation with young people. Former University of Worcester Film student Matt Worthington, who now runs his own successful video production company Storm Videos, created the videos used in the programme.

The app is now free to download by young people across the country, not just West Mercia. The app can be found under on the apple store or google play under Choices: stay safe, be aware.

Nick Bancroft, Enterprise Manager at the University of Worcester, said: “The app has been developed by the University’s Media Lab. This innovative initiative allows our students to work with industry clients whilst receiving supervision and management from key University staff. This app is one of a range of exciting projects we are working on.

“The Media Lab’s main aim is to further connect what our students are taught in the classroom to the real demands and expectations of working in industry; it provides a mechanism to develop their creative and technical skills whilst applying them to what are often high profile projects.

“We feel that being involved in the delivery of this particular mobile app build is of key importance, because it also serves to demonstrate to our students the sort of positive impact their skills can have on the wider community.

“We consulted young people throughout the design process to ensure that what we produced was relevant and meaningful to them.

“We hope that with this app will enable young people to confront the issues they are facing in a positive way and make the right choices as a result.”

Police and Crime Commissioner, John Campion, said: “Technology plays a big part in young people’s lives, so what better way to provide advice and support than through an app? Our young people are one of the most vulnerable groups in society, so we need to do all we can to keep them safe.

“This app is a fantastic and engaging way of guiding young people through some really important subjects; particularly if they’re being affected by them and perhaps aren’t sure where to turn.”