I AM ME - Keep Safe Kids App - Renfrew High - Group shot - 16 December 2019 (2)

Pupils from six schools in Renfrewshire have collaborated with an award-winning charity to develop a new app that promotes mental wellbeing.

I Am Me Scotland have been working with children and young people in Renfrew High, Paisley Grammar, Castlehead High, Kirklandeuk Primary, St James Primary and Arkleston Primary schools to design their innovative new phone app, Keep Safe Kids.

I AM ME - Keep Safe Kids App - Renfrew High - Group shot - 16 December 2019 (2)

The app will give pupils access to online information about issues affecting young people, such as mental health, bullying and online abuse.

It will also allow young people to report incidents of harassment and bullying discreetly to their school without having to approach a teacher.

Research suggests that young people across Scotland do not report bullying behaviour for fear of being called a ‘grass’.

Aimee, 16, said: “Some people really struggle to report bullying, but the app can help and build people’s confidence to help other people.”

Reports made on the app will go directly to teachers at the pupil’s school and incidents will be addressed in line with Renfrewshire and the school’s anti-bullying policies.

Pupils involved in the app’s development have said how keen they are to support their peers and help those who witness or are subject to bullying behaviours.

Brodie, 14, said: “It’s easy to access the app, and it has been designed so that anyone can use it. It covers a variety of issues and problems that teens face and gives multiple solutions that benefit everyone.”

Matthew, 13, added: “Working together to make the app better and more accessible for anyone to use has been great fun. I can’t wait to see the app’s launch.”

The app will be tested with the pilot schools over the coming months, with a full launch expected in the new school year, August 2020.

I Am Me Scotland have also been working with national anti-bullying charity RespectMe and other national organisations who will feature on the app.

Eileen MacLean, chair of I Am Me Scotland, said: “We are designing the new exciting app, with young people, to provide support and enable them to report bullying. The app will be a first-of-its-kind in Scotland and an example of the Charity’s innovative approach to working in collaboration with partners. It also highlights Renfrewshire’s continued commitment to making people feel safe in their communities.”

Communities, Housing and Planning Convener, Councillor Marie McGurk, said: “We know harassment and name-calling can escalate for adults experiencing such incidents, so it important we help children and young people to report incidents using a channel they are already familiar with.”

Education and Children’s Services Convener and Depute Leader of Renfrewshire Council, Councillor Jim Paterson, added: “Ensuring the wellbeing of all our pupils is a priority for every school, and schools have robust measures in place to support children and young people who have reported harassment by their peers. I hope this app will help those pupils who do not feel able to speak to a teacher directly.”

For more information about the Keep Safe Kids app or I Am Me Scotland initiatives, email iamme@renfrewshire.gov.uk.