Moms with Apps: My Love-Hate Relationship with Apps

May 2, 2011
Shine

On April 22nd, the New York Times published an article about the alarm bells associated with electronic versions of children’s books (i.e., book apps on the iPad): “But does digital interactivity engender mental passivity? As fingers flick and flit, making pixels work harder, what do brain cells do? What, I wonder, does interactivity do for […]

On April 22nd, the New York Times published an article about the alarm bells associated with electronic versions of children’s books (i.e., book apps on the iPad):

“But does digital interactivity engender mental passivity? As fingers flick and flit, making pixels work harder, what do brain cells do? What, I wonder, does interactivity do for the imagination, as reading a book gets closer and closer to watching television?”

Many of us may be thinking about these same questions. But as this type of trepidation gains ground, I wonder, like a mother who has come down too hard on her kids, if it’s time to ease up on the haranguing.Why am I worried about a generation of zombies when I, as a parent, have influence on how my children thrive and develop? Isn’t the onus on me to balance the aforementioned concerns by shooing the munchkins outside to play?

I’m going to make some assumptions so we can tackle the zombie topic and move on. To the parents who are reading this, I assume you are a responsible, enthusiastic and engaged parent. I assume you only want what is best for your kids. I assume that you think about what type of content is available in your home, and the method in which it’s accessible. I assume you have the power to turn even the most mundane app into a teachable moment, just by interacting with your child. I assume you know how to critically evaluate apps for your children. I assume you know when enough is enough, and that greeting grandparents after a long road trip should result in hugs and eye-contact, and not in: “hold on, I just need to finish this app”.

Do we agree? Then maybe it’s time boot the counselor out of the room and get to the “love” part of this relationship. Innovations are taking place in the App Store – which both parents, and kids, are finding valuable.

Which apps do you like best for your children, and why? I asked our Moms With Apps Facebook fans this very question, and collected a sample of their favorites.

Favorite apps from Moms With Apps Facebook Fans include:

  • Bug Builder – for collaborative and creative play
  • Gunther is a Star – because he makes you laugh
  • Helicopter Taxi – because you can fly
  • iEarnedThat, Bean Jar Kids, Chore Pad – for setting and accomplishing goals
  • iLearn Solar System 2 – for learning about the planets
  • iStorytime Apps – because they make book apps out of movies kids enjoy
  • Need for Speed Shift – for race car driving on the iPad
  • Park Math – for reinforcing math concepts
  • Sound Shaker – for using your imagination
  • Standard whiteboard apps – for the simplicity of the blank canvas (In our home we use the night sky as a blank canvas in Draw With Stars. The boxers in My Underwear are also handy for whiteboarding.)
  • Stories2Learn – for creating custom stories on a simple platform
  • Tales2Go – for listening to audio stories during the carpool
  • Toca Tea Party – for pretend play
  • Tozzle – for toddler puzzles
  • Zanny – Born to Run- because you can fling frogs and Cheerios
  • Zoo Train – for letter recognition and word building
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    As you can see, there are all sorts of creative reasons people are intrigued with the iPhone and iPad. With the right apps, and an enthusiastic attitude, maybe this can be a fun adventure after all.

    Visit Lorraine Akemann’s Appolicious app library here.

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    Lorraine Akemann

    Lorraine Akemann is cofounder of Moms With Apps, a network of family-friendly developers for the iPhone and iPad. After creating her own kids app, she recognized the need for collaborative cross-marketing with other app developers to help gain exposure in the App Store marketplace. Moms With Apps launched in November of 2009 and has grown to represent over 300 independent iOS developers. Her purpose of growing the network is to provide marketing support for developers, to be a resource for parents and teachers who are looking for educational apps, and to advocate healthy intersections of kids and technology. Prior to forming Moms With Apps, Lorraine worked in education marketing at Cisco Systems. She holds a BA in Communication along with a Masters in Business Administration.

    Visit Lorraine Akemann's Appolicious profile here.

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