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Parenting With Parent Apps: Yay Or Nay?

All of us parents face our own struggles when it comes to parenting and help is always appreciated. Sometimes, help can come in the form of an app, but how much help is too much?

An app or two never hurt, right?

We all need some extra help at some point in our parenting journey. No matter what struggles we face or when we face them, help is always appreciated. Some people prefer help in the form of a nanny. But in today’s digital age, digital problems require digital solutions. Parent apps can be a useful tool, but we ought to use them responsibly too.

The extra parent.

The app market is teeming with parent apps that promise to help you in your parenting journey. Each of them serve different purposes and provide different services, so it’s no surprise if you want to make the most of each of them. Here are some apps on the market that might be beneficial to you for different purposes:

1. plano

plano is an app that helps you keep track of your child’s myopia progression and smart device use. The app has some cool functions – it reminds your child to take eye breaks, and detects whether your child is using their devices in low light conditions.

If your child is using their phones in dim light, the app will prompt your child to move to another location with better lighting conditions*. As a parent, you can schedule specific timings to keep the phone away*. You also have the ability to block certain apps or browsers to keep your child safe from harmful content. The best part is that if your child follows all these prompts and reminders, he/she earns points which can be used to request for items or activities away from the screen. From gymnastics lessons to scooters, your child can experience a variety of activities and play with some fun toys!

2. S’moresUp App

Does your kid help around with household chores? Well, S’moresUp helps today’s modern, digital parents manage their children’s everyday chores. On the app, you can add all your family members involved in the household chores. You can create the chores on the app, schedule them, and set reminders for your child to do them. Once your child has completed his/her chores, they get S’mores reward points! As a parent, you can set up rewards that correspond to the number of S’mores. For instance, 100 S’mores earns them a trip to the zoo, or 50 S’mores gets them a new book. 

3. Duolingo

We parents love an educational app, and what’s cooler than teaching your child another language? Duolingo is an app that teaches a variety of languages from French to Vietnamese to your child. It’s also a great tool to help you learn something cool and new alongside your child which makes for a great bonding activity. Language learning also comes in the form of a game where your child will definitely have loads of fun crunching levels and earning stars!

Caution though!

As with everything, there’s always a limit to how far you can go. In this case, how far you can go with parent apps. While we understand the want and need to manage our child’s device use, constantly looking over their shoulder can prove worrisome. As much as we believe that children need guidance, they should also be afforded their own privacy. We parents need to trust our child to make their own decisions. Sandra Petronio, a professor of communication studies, notes that too much surveillance on our children’s actions can infringe their privacy and this may implicate parent-child relationships negatively.

Even if we use parent apps to remind our children of their duties, we shouldn’t over-do it as well. They need time for themselves to explore and cultivate their own hobbies and interests. And while online learning is fun and convenient, that can never replace the human interaction of learning in a classroom with teachers and friends.

There always needs to be balance in our lives, and our children’s lives too. So while a parent app or two can go a long way, we need to be sure that we’re using them sensibly too.  

*These functions are subject to your device’s technical capabilities

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