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Barnardo’s new app to help protect children

Release Date: 25 Apr 2014

Barnardo’s has teamed up with Microsoft to produce a unique new app to help teach young people about the dangers of child sexual exploitation. ‘Wud U?’ has been designed to help teachers and other professionals working with young people educate children about how to keep themselves safe.

The app consists of several scenarios that any teenager might face and sets out the sorts of circumstances in which young people may be led into being sexually exploited.  As the scenario progresses the user is asked to think about what they would do in the same situation and receive advice about the decisions they make.

The ‘Wud U?’ app is available to download free of charge from the Microsoft App store, the Apple store and Google play:

Download the app now.

Barnardo’s director Michelle Lee-Izu said:

A vital part of empowering children to protect themselves against sexual exploitation is getting young people to think for themselves which scenarios might put them at risk.  We want all children to be able to identify what a healthy relationship looks like, so that when they are with a partner, at a party or just chatting on-line they make good decisions."

We are delighted to have been able to produce this innovative educational app in partnership with Microsoft.  Our aspiration is that ‘Wud U?’ will become an indispensable tool in educating the young about the risk of child sexual exploitation."

Barnardo’s worked with more than 2,000 sexually exploited children last year and we see first-hand the devastating impact these crimes can have.  We need to do everything we can to prevent this terrible abuse from happening, and a key part of that is giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to stay safe by getting themselves out of risky situations.”

Nicola Hodson, General Manager Marketing & Operations at Microsoft, said:

Microsoft has a long history of child protection initiatives and exploring how technology can be used to fight the online sexual exploitation of children."

However, just like technology itself, this is an evolving challenge - technology companies, law enforcement, teachers, governments, charities and parents, all have a role to play."

Through this partnership with Barnardo’s and the creation of the ‘Wud U?’ App, we are providing the crucial education and guidance needed alongside the skills and know-how to empower young people to be able to make good choices every day.”

Manager for Barnardo’s specialist child sexual exploitation service in London, Jane Coppock said:

Technology is an integral part of young people’s lives. This app will allow teachers and social workers to communicate with children through a medium which they find most engaging."

We already work closely with schools and local authorities to help them educate children about staying safe. This involves going into schools and talking directly to children in a classroom environment."

We are always looking for new ways to engage with young people, both in a classroom as well as more vulnerable children through our services. ‘Wud U?’ is vibrant, interactive and provides the ideal starting point for a wider conversation about keeping yourself safe.”

Wud U app

The launch of ‘Wud U?’ is part of an on-going Barnardo’s campaign to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation. Earlier this year the charity called on parents to be able to spot the signs of abuse with the launch of its new advert and last month a new report made a number of legislative and policy recommendations.

If you want to find out how you can support Barnardo’s, visit Get Involved.

Download the app

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