New App to help protect children from sexual exploitation

Microsoft and children’s charity Barnado’s have pooled resources to create an app to protect children from sexual exploitation.

The innovative app, called ‘Wud U?’, has been designed for education professionals to use in teaching children about potentially dangerous scenarios.

The app poses situations in which a child may be at threat of exploitation, asking the user what they would do in that same situation and then explaining why their choice would be a good or bad decision.

The app is the culmination of a working relationship between Microsoft and Barnado’s, drawing on their collective expertise in the fields of digital innovation and supporting vulnerable children.

The app, featuring a series of illustrated stories, can be downloaded free of charge from all major app stores.

Barnardo’s director Michelle Lee-Izu explained: “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”.

Barnado’s worked with over 2,000 sexually exploited children in the UK last year. In 2011, an inquiry by the Children’s Commissioner for England estimated that around 16,500 children are high-risk for sexual exploitation.