Many parents are puzzled with the large variety of available apps for children and ask themselves: “Which app is right for my child?” We’ll help you make a decision.
Apps as gateways into the digital world
We all know that it’s best for our children to spend as much time as possible outdoors in the fresh air. But it’s also important to teach them how to deal responsibly with modern technology and social media as early as possible. By the time they start school at the latest, most children won’t be able to avoid using the internet. Many schools will even offer students their own tablets and laptops for educational purposes.
While there are many fantastic educational apps for children, not all are suitable for every age group. There are different categories- even within the category of “learning apps” or “gaming apps.” But what should parents pay attention to in particular, before installing an app for their children?
Follow the app manufacturer’s instructions
Not every application is suitable for each child. Even before you download to your smartphone, you can see how manufacturers specify the age groups for which their product is intended. Scanning the reviews from others also gives you a good sense of the ages of children enjoying the app.
Parents should also ensure that the app does not cause sensory overload. Bright colors, loud sounds and music, hectic movements – all of these tend to demand too much of children. Before your child uses the app alone for the first time, test it yourself. Through settings, you will be able to customize the app for your child. Music and ambient noise, for example, can be switched off.
Advertising and in-app purchases
Pay special attention to advertising banners and in-app purchases. Just because the app is “free” does not mean you won’t be bombarded by this extra spam!
You can explain to older children and teenagers that they should not click on blinking images at the edge of the screen, but it is so easy for small children to inadvertently click on an ad. In many cases, it pays to invest directly in an ad-free, pro-version of the app. Although you will have to initially invest a small sum, you will avoid costs in the end. Another positive side-effect: Your child will not be constantly being redirected from the app to advertising offers and will be able to use the app with a large degree of independence without getting frustrated. Some smartphones also offer the possibility to circumvent in-app purchases using a little trick.
An app for at home and away
We recommend an app for your children that can be used offline as well. Particularly on long journeys, apps are a great pastime for kids. Make sure it can work offline since you could be charged extra if an internet connection is required. Also, these types of applications cannot be used everywhere. The best app is useless if access to mobile data is not possible, and thus not suitable for flights or long road trips.
Applications for children: where do we start?
Many parents have trouble selecting the right app for their child despite recommendations. No wonder! There are so many to choose from!
Need a starting point? What’s your child’s favorite TV series or cartoon character? Chances are, they have their own app! Look for smartphone and tablet app recommendations featuring them. Even better is to find a learning app with their favorite cartoons.
If commercial TV show characters aren’t your favorite, check out the apps from TocaBoca or SagoMini. These companies make apps that are appropriate for preschool age and older and aren’t overstimulating. You have to pay for most of the offerings, but you’re not going to be bombarded with lots of extra commercial ads.
The FamilyApp is another great starting point for your children who may want to be on social media. It’s completely encrypted, so all of their information is private, and they’ll be chatting with trusted family members, instead of potential strangers. Another benefit? Parents can subscribe to trusted channels, so they’re not bombarded with unnecessary ads.
While many smaller app companies are fantastic, sticking to apps with many positive reviews and a good reputation suggests a certain degree of quality. Even if you trust a brand, you should still take a good look at the app before downloading it. If you want to save time, you can consult the internet for various product tests and assessments. Quality labels and certificates are also awarded to apps and provide orientation in your search for a good learning app.
Remember: not even the best app can replace communication and interactions between a child and parent. Apps can be a fun treat, but even the most educational app doesn’t compare with all the wonderful things your child learns from you.