There is no denying of the fact that the rapid advancement of technology has made our lives easier. Except for a few minor setbacks, technology has been kind to the human race. And as we proceed towards a digital era, there might not be anything that modern technology won’t be able to do. Take education for instance. We already have smart classes and several apps that offer better study help to the students.
As parents, it can be pretty tough to keep your kid busy through the long hours of the day. Need some breathing space? Know everything about apps that can keep your toddler engaged.
However, as parents, you have the responsibility to check what the kids are being exposed to, especially when technology is involved. Whether you realize it or not, technology is only a tool, which can be used for both good and bad. It is highly debated if it will be wise to let your kid choose any app they like. Here is a list of things that you should consider while choosing an app for your kids.
7 Things to Add to Your Checklist While Choosing an App for Your Kids
- Does the app provide any educational value?
Children have an impressionable mind. So, before you allow them to use any app, you need to make sure they are absorbing good things from those apps. Since kids won’t be able to differentiate between good and bad, you need to pick the apps that have some educational value. There are a lot of learning apps available in today’s market that can offer learning materials and homework help to the kids.
On the other hand, social media apps are tricky. There are a few social media apps that have educational value, but there are other sides to the apps as well. It is better to stick to the apps that are solely dedicated to helping the kids learn. However, if you want to give them permission to use other apps, make sure the apps are suitable for their age.
- Is the content of the app appropriate for kids?
Before giving you kid the access to a certain app, you must check the content rating of the app. Generally, the rating is mentioned in the app description quite clearly for the users to see. As you may realize, there are certain types of content that are meant for mature audiences. Exposing your kid to such content through an app can have adverse effects on his/her impressionable mind.
Learning apps like ClassDojo or Duolingo are designed exclusively for the kids. So there shouldn’t be any issue regarding the suitability of content. However, when you are allowing your kid to access general apps like NetFlix or Facebook, you are actually exposing them to a wide range of content, which includes violence, sexuality and other sensitive content that they are not supposed to consume at a young age.
- Does the app protect your child’s privacy?
As the number of cyber crimes increases significantly with each passing year, it is not wise to let your kid access any app that seems engaging to them without checking its requirements. Well, nobody really goes through the terms and conditions of an app before installing it on the device. However, as far as your child’s privacy is concerned, you should spare a moment to go through the terms and conditions of the app.
Apps that are designed for the children under the age of 13 should comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, popularly known as COPPA, which safeguards the privacy of children under 13. If an app is not COPPA-complaint, it can collect any data from the user whenever they want, which leaves your kid’s privacy at risk. However, complete anonymity can open doors for bad things if the kid finds out he/she is not accountable for his/her actions on the internet. As a parent, you need to take care of that as well.
- Is it free? If yes, does it offer in-app purchases?
If you want your kid to have an uninterrupted experience on their learning apps, then you should go for a paid app with premium features and better learning materials. Choosing a paid app over a free one has a host of benefits. Firstly, it is going to be ad-free, which will improve the learning experience of the kid. Besides, the paid one will offer advanced features that can amp up your kid’s learning process as well.
The problem with free apps is that they will avail other avenues to earn money. It’s either through advertisements or through in-app purchases, or perhaps both. You still get some control over the in-app purchases, but when your kid is engrossed in the app, learning new things, an ad can break the kid’s concentration and disrupt the learning environment. So, it is better to choose a paid app.
- How addictive is the app?
Social media and gaming apps are usually more engaging than the learning apps. And if you are letting them use those apps, you need to monitor how much time they are spending on each app. If they are spending hours on social media and only a few minutes on the learning apps, you need to intervene. It is advised to the parents that they should not expose the kids to such addictive apps from the beginning. It may take a bad shape a few years down the line.
Instead of letting them use social media and gaming apps, introduce them to interactive and gamified learning apps. Thanks to the interactive features of the apps, your kid will find interest in those apps from the beginning. Also, the feature of gamification will keep them involved throughout the day while ensuring that they learn new things simultaneously. However, you also need to encourage them to develop other habits like reading, playing outdoor sports and others, so that they do not grow up to be a Smartphone addict.
- Is the app one of its kind?
In 2018, you have multiple options for everything and the app store is a great example of that. If you are choosing an app, which you believe will keep your child engaged, you surely need to go through the features and other significant details that we discussed briefly in the previous points. However, you also need to check if there are other apps available in the market that offers the same features.
When it comes to the education of the children, you need to make sure they are getting the best thing in the market. As you may realize, there’s no “one of a kind” app in the market. Even if someone publishes a unique app, someone will lift the idea and make a better app a few months later. You need to see which option is more appropriate for your child’s age, preference and learning speed before making the final call.
- What do the user reviews say?
It may not be possible for you to install each of the apps and then run an evaluation to see if they are useful for your kid. For this reason, you should be relying on the user reviews of the apps to see what the apps are actually delivering to the users. Some users fall for the flashy interface and the feature-videos of the app, and later find out that they are no good for their kids. If you don’t want to make that mistake, just go through the user reviews.
The reviews are available on the app store under every app. However, if you want second opinions on the app, you can rely on public reviews that are available on the third-party websites. More often than not, the user reviews give a better insight into the apps than the feature-videos or the app description.
Paying heed to these crucial measures is surely going to help you pick better apps for your kids. However, it will be better if you can consult with an educator to verify the efficacy and suitability of the apps for your kid.
Nathan William is a high school teacher from Sydney, who has been associated with MyAssignmenthelp.com as an assignment writing expert. Besides helping students with their assignment, Nathan also has a knack for writing.