We were about 15 months into our first iPhones when I realized my husband hadn’t installed or used ANY apps. None. He was hardly using his phone as anything but a – a- a– phone. Let’s just say I was VERY disturbed. The budget-conscious part of me told him that if he didn’t start using his phone as more than a phone we would drop him back to the world of non-smart phones and cut his data plan. He was horrified. Then the educator in me realized that he was just totally overwhelmed by the vast number of choices and had no idea where to get started, nor did he want to devote the time to figuring it out. So, just as other household chores get divided, I became the app-finder in our household. He lets me know if he has a need, otherwise I just send him links to things I think he might find useful or interesting.
Speaking with friends, I have learned that my husband is not alone.
I understand why some parents might not allow their children any time with their tablet or smart phone. You won’t hear any judgment from me if that is your decision. But as a child who was denied almost all TV and grew up to be a creator of media, I’m personally not going the route of screen lockdown with our kids. Instead, I’m trying to help them to become educated and aware consumers. So, finding age appropriate apps is part of my job as household app-finder and mom.
I have a few sites I go to for reviews, and sometimes I just happen to stumble upon a gem on my own. If you’re interested in searching for apps for your kids on your own I highly recommend the site Smart Apps For Kids. They’ll tell you about a good free app each day and also have many reviews of paid apps. Another site I sometimes look to is The iMums where you can find honest reviews of a variety of apps for children. You can also use the “related apps” button in iTunes, which will lead you on a trail from one of your already favored apps to a few other options.
Or, if you’d rather have someone else sort through the chaos, check back here and I’ll be bringing you reviews of apps regularly.
I’d like to start with an app for you: Flipboard. (iOS & Andriod, free)
This app will integrate your news and social media sites into a tiled screen, allowing you organized and easy access to all of your favorite sites like A Child Grows and making it effortless to keep track of the sources you’re most interested in. Websites, RSS and Twitter feeds, Flickr and Facebook accounts selected by you will all be formatted together into a magazine-style layout which is easy to read. The “Cover Stories” tile selects entries from your sources, and is a great way to catch up with it all when you’re short on time.
– Christine Dehne is a Brooklyn-based multimedia artist and educator and a mother of two girls. She strives to teach her children and her students to be happy but conscious consumers of media.