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Introducing Ollee – a virtual friend

What is Ollee?

Ollee is a digital friend for children aged 8-11, created by Parent Zone and funded by BBC Children in Need’s A Million & Me initiative, which aims to make a difference to children’s emotional wellbeing. 

It’s designed to help children reflect on how they feel and to process their experiences with the support and help of their parents and carers – and it does this by offering them advice about a range of subjects: school, family, friends, their body, the internet and the world.

For each of these subjects, children can choose an emotion that matches how they feel about it: happy, angry, sad, confused, frustrated, stressed or worried.

Next, they can choose from a list of topics – for instance, a child who was worried about school might be able to select ‘I haven’t done my homework’ as the cause of their worry. Finally, they’ll see a page of advice about the topic, presented in child-friendly bite-sized chunks they can read then or save for later. 

Parents can also follow the same pathways to get advice on the subjects and emotions they think their child might be struggling with. This advice is presented in the same bite-sized format but is tailored to the parent audience.

Sharing and talking

Sharing is at the heart of Ollee. Parents and children can link their accounts with each other, then share advice about a topic they think the other might want information on. The advice that is sent is tailored to the relevant audience – so if a parent shares advice with a child, the child will see the right version for them.

It’s all part of encouraging children to talk to parents and other trusted adults about the things that might be troubling them.

Customisation 

Ollee is a fun character and to make it even more appealing to children the app includes a built-in customisation feature. This enables children to dress Ollee up to look exactly how they want, and add accessories and other fun touches.

When and where is Ollee available?

Ollee will be available as a progressive web app, meaning it can be accessed via any web browser – though it works best on smartphones and tablets.

It will be available, for free, from 26 October 2020 – and we’ll have more information about it very soon.