YouROK is the developer of K'Bro is a mobile app designed with evidence-based activities that build emotional resiliency gamified in a way that sustains regular engagement and serves as a real-time, prevention tool to adolescent mental health issues.
Emotional resiliency refers to the human ability to adapt in response to adversity and stressful situations. Some people demonstrate more resilience than others. This is largely due to a combination of social and biological factors that shape a person’s emotional state during formative years. In the field of mental health, there is vast amounts of research showing that emotional resiliency allows humans to cope with life events, traumas, and stressors more effectively and to lead a happier life. Such research shows that higher levels of emotional competence (awareness, self-control, and comfort with expression) in children and young teenagers leads to a decreased risk of using hard drugs and behavioral adjustment problems. More importantly, research shows that teens of different backgrounds, family situations, and biological predispositions can increase their emotional resiliency.
Even the more "sensitive" individuals that are likely to let stress and trauma set them back emotionally can be taught to develop emotional resiliency despite their biological predispositions. Therefore, building emotional resilience in teens is essential to healthy development and creating fulfilling lives for future generations. Currently, emotional resilience is just emerging as a topic of conversation with the advent of Social Emotional Literacy programs in some schools. Mental health websites occasionally provide information on how to increase emotional resiliency, but the main access point to these tips for adolescents would be through counseling. Many teens do not attend counseling, because they are undiagnosed, and do not communicate their need for help well. K’Bro not only seeks to help with building emotional resilience, but also communication between adolescents and their parents. K'Bro's goal is to increase awareness of, and begin discussions about emotional resiliency.
The Am I OK? index takes a new approach to psychological assessment. In lieu of a Likert scale, the index utilizes conjoint analysis combined with advanced sentiment analysis about multiple contexts in youths’ lives (e.g. school, family, and social life) to gain a more comprehensive view of their well-being. This shift away from Likert scales delivers more accurate results because, instead of being able to minimize the severity of their negative emotions, using the Am I OK? index users simply acknowledge what emotions (4 out of 12 options) a specific aspect of their life evokes, without social comparison as the Likert scales have been found to cause. Further, the index only asks about present emotions, as opposed to most assessments, which ask the person to identify their emotions over a longer period (usually two weeks). This is particularly useful in the treatment of adolescents, who often lack the ability to reflect on their emotions over a long period of time, particularly during periods of intense distress. The Am I OK? index has also developed technology to interpret the results of the assessment and deliver them to users using language that they can easily understand. When the user has identified their emotions about a variety of contexts, the result is presented as either “not okay” “okay” or “better than okay,” eliminating the jargon found in traditional psychological assessments.
When teens need help acquiring strategies to cope with their negative emotions, they practice peer communication by asking for feedback in the Deal With It! forum. In addition, many teens experience difficult emotions because of turmoil with parents and other authority figures. When teens ask for feedback concerning how to communicate with their parents or teachers, for example, they are acquiring communication strategies that are effective for both peers and superiors. Ultimately, as users develop the ability to effectively communicate their needs while respecting authority figures, they will experience less social and familial distress. Even though there are some minimal risks associated with participation in the trial (such as the potential for cyberbullying or sharing ineffective coping strategies), these risks are outweighed by the participants’ potential to develop important lifelong emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness skills. For issues that cannot be addressed within the app’s features users will be able to text with a trained professional for additional support. If their parent has a subscription the parent will be receiving insights to help improve parent-child engagement.
K’Bro takes advantage of artificial intelligence to respond to crisis scenarios that users report in the forum-style sections of the app: Deal With It!, Speak Up? and What’s Up? Such words and phrases as “suicide” or “cutting” will trigger an alert within the app to the child using K’Bro with crisis strategies and other relevant solutions to these more serious issues, at no cost to the user. For those families where the parent has a paid subscription, the parent will receive a weekly email with targeted conversation starter tips based on the child’s issues; if there is cause for concern the parent will receive an immediate alert. In addition to helping teens get through moments of high distress, K’Bro’s artificial intelligence technology lets the app self-regulate such that community managers do not need to individually screen content that is posted within the app.
K’Bro captures four emotions out of 12 (six positive options and six negative options) for four categories in a child’s life: School, Family Life, Social Life and Everything Else. This helps K’Bro pinpoint if a child is not doing OK and which aspect of their life is where they’re having issues. For example, grades may be falling, but it’s really the relationship with their coach that’s at issue. The game is "addictingly" fun because once they’ve shared their emotions, they play a fun runner game competing with their friends to see who captures the most acorns. And their positive use of the game is rewarded with additional acorns.
K’Bro provides a knowledge base dedicated to adolescent topics to help kids figure out to handle things on their own. If they don’t find the answer they’re looking for, they can ask the My Tribe community anonymously how other kids have handled similar issues. Kids get the chance to vote “good idea” or “bad idea” on feedback others provide and to block anyone whose answer seem inappropriate.
K’Bro created “Speak Up!” to help kids practice advocating for themselves. In many ways, it’s the letter you write to process your emotions but never send. It’s also the opportunity to provide positive or negative feedback to someone as part of self-advocacy even with you the parent! Kids have the option of asking My Tribe to provide feedback on their response by rating it “Helpful” or “Hurtful” to ensure your child sends a productive message to accomplish their self-advocacy goal.
What’s Up? is where kids get to practice gratitude on a daily basis. Each day they’ll be asked three questions to highlight what’s going right in their life. If they have a “not so OK day” on the index, they’ll be reminded of all the stuff that’s going right to help give them the emotional boost they need to start to feel better.
If your child only used K’Bro 2 minutes a day it would begin to have a positive impact.
While daily is ideal, most adolescents play K’Bro a few times a week.
To create a parent account click here [link to parent subscription page.] It is important to note that your child must approve you having access to their Am I OK? weekly index score in order to create this account. Not all kids are comfortable sharing with their parents and to protect their privacy while still providing access to a tool that focuses on emotional wellness we created this two step process. If your child does not approve your subscription that would be an important topic of conversation as to why they are uncomfortable with you knowing that they’re doing OK. Most kids expressed interest in having their parents get a subscription to keep their parents off their back with daily questions as to how they are doing.
K’Bro is always free to kids. Soon the kids will have the option to make in-app purchases to enhance game play. Parents pay $4.95 per month per child however there are packages available for larger families.
You gain access to YouROK immediately upon submitting your credit card after your child has approved your access to the Am I OK? Index score.
You can cancel your account at any time in your account settings. Your account will be active through the end of the current month and will not renew.
If you feel YouROK’s K’Bro Parent Subscription is not for you, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org with your refund request. We will refund your full payment at any time, no questions asked.
Although technology can breed cyberbullying and social anxiety in users, it can also be utilized to combat emotional problems in large numbers of people, because of its accessibility. K’Bro provides that link between technology and emotional well-being. The few, unlikely psychological risks associated with K’Bro are the potential for cyberbullying and sharing of unhelpful coping mechanisms. Both are unlikely due to the up/down voting system in the app and community managers’ ability to delete offensive users. In a University of Wisconsin-Madison study their research showed that it is the established norms within any given community that determines the positive or negative aspect of the comments and the community. They noted we act consistently with the space and the situation; a football game is different from a wedding for example. K’Bro has taken exceptional care through community managers to set a positive and reinforcing tone.
Yes. Users will begin to improve their emotional resilience by labelling their emotions. Many adolescents can identify when they feel “overwhelmed” or “stressed,” but need help identifying their underlying emotions. Since the Am I OK? index offers users a choice of four different, simple emotions out of twelve that users can select to describe their emotional state, teens are able to associate their complex feelings with concrete emotions. When users continue to use the Am I OK? index for a prolonged period, they will begin to observe patterns and take note of triggers, which will help them develop appropriate coping strategies and, in turn, experience fewer negative emotions overall. This will facilitate better communications with their therapist. As children build their emotional resilience using K’Bro they may, over time, reduce the need for medication.
YouROK has a mobile user experience that connects to a set of APIs exposed via SSL-encrypted and username/password secured RESTFul web-services. The username/password is only transmitted over SSL when the user first opens the mobile application, and all following transactions use a secured token that is created for the user's session. Data is not stored on the mobile device, but always fetched from the APIs. The APIs are an authorized and common extension of Drupal. Drupal connects to a MySQL database to store the user data. The APIs, Drupal, and MySQL are hosted on the Azure platform.
Access to the Azure platform is protected by usernames and passwords. Access to the virtual machines in Azure has an additional layer of public/private key pairs to establish operating system level connections. Access to privileged functions is logged, but there is additional enhancement necessary to provide consistent and complete separation of duty between community managers and dev-ops team members.
YouROK complies with protected information regulatory measures by only allowing people to access the minimum amount of information to complete their job. HIPAA, for instance, is addressed by only allowing community managers to access the necessary data to regulate and monitor user interactions. Developers work in isolated environments that do not contain protected information. In addition, K'Bro continues to improve our overall security posture as we identify additional regulatory or compliance measures that are necessary or beneficial to K'Bro.
YouROK is continually refining the appropriate controls to manage the IT effort overall, including common activities such as change management, configuration management, security and governance.