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Gina Badalaty is a lifestyle blogger for moms raising kids with special needs. She is passionate about living a nontoxic life, inclusion for kids with disabilities and technology to help kids thrive.
Feb 14, 2017
We all know that it can be difficult to get kids to answer questions. As a mom raising one child who struggles to speak and another who struggles with handwriting, creative solutions to this problem are a must, especially as kids enter their teens. Conversations are challenging to start with and continue to be for any parent of a teenager.
You may already be used to getting either a “yea,” a “nope” or even just a grunt when you ask questions but what if there were tools that could help you get more out of your child? Today, we’ll look at three apps that can help kids get the answer to any question and spark more conversations than just “yes” or “no”.
Rated 12+, Kiwi Q&A is an app that allows kids to ask and answer questions. Users can be anonymous or create a profile and attract followers and likes. You can also add location services to expand your search options. Subjects are searched by category or location, possibly making this an unsafe app.
Kiwi will also try to get users to invite all their online friends. You must deselect friends to use the app before moving forward if you don’t want to invite them. You can also follow others or select trending topics.
A downside to Kiwi is that many questions focus on romance and sex. Even the image in the app store shows comments only about these topics. Other Q&As focus on breaking laws, drinking, drugs, and smoking. There are limited protections against violence in this app too. Of all three, we have to give this app a thumbs down.
Ratings: 3 out of 5 starsEducational value: Not much but fun for interacting with friends.Ease of play/use: 3 out of 5 stars. This app is reported as being difficult to search for desired topics.Violence & scariness: Not as strict limitations on comments as Wishbone so users can post inappropriate comments without penalty.Sexy stuff: Can have explicit questions or answers. Crude humor.Bad Language: Rated as frequent or intense.Consumerism: None
Wishbone Compare Anything may help by enticing your teen with outside-the-box opinion questions box, like, “Who is cuter?” comparing celebrities or “Would you rather be in the Hindenburg or the Titanic?” As you can see, there is a level of violence on this app, but that may get your child interested in what those events are. However, there is limited educational value in this app overall.
Available for Google Play and iOS, this app is rated 12+ but only ages 13 and older are allowed to use it. Teens can create their own polls, which may be useful. They can also take 50 question surveys and share results via social media. Parents would be wise to consider whether they want kids exposed to this kind of data collection.
Wishbone connects via Facebook or Twitter, but users are not required to log in. This app also contains a chat room so be warned that kids can connect with strangers, putting them at risk. This app might prove fun for teens, so we’re giving this a “proceed with caution” recommendation.
Ratings: 3 out of 5 starsEducational value: Some. Maybe open a forum to discuss social content with teens.Ease of play/use: 4 out of 5 starsViolence & scariness: Minimal, seems limited to fantasy violence.Sexy stuff: Some suggestive content (i.e., scantily clad men or women), but sexually explicit content is forbidden.Bad Language: Forbidden, along with hateful language, although there is mild profanity and crude language. Ability to report violations.Consumerism: Contains frequent in-app ads and purchases.
Created by one of the co-founders of Twitter, Jelly markets itself as a search engine, however, it works like another Q&A app. With the safest rating of these three apps, sexual themes, alcohol/tobacco/drug use, profanity and crude humor are all mild and infrequent. This app is great for getting opinions and recommendations, but there is also the possibility for more thoughtful discussions. Jelly can be used for as opinions on a book, ideas for places to visit or even to ask for homework help.
Jelly allows integration with photos as well. Users can upload photos they take or share one off the Internet. There is a 240-character limit for questions. It can also be difficult to backtrack but is fairly easy to use.
Parents should be aware that Jelly users could find them via Facebook. Be on the lookout to see if your child is suddenly receiving Facebook friend requests from strangers.
Ratings: 4 out of 5 starsEducational value: GoodEase of play/use: 3 out of 5 starsViolence & scariness: MinimalSexy stuff: MinimalBad Language: MinimalConsumerism: Free as of this writing, with no ads.
All three apps have different purposes, but Jelly provides kids with the most useful information for school work, new experiences, recommendations and more in a safer environment. We’re recommending this one for teens.