Most parents want the same thing for their kids. You want your children to be happy and carefree. You want them to have a normal childhood and be just like their friends. You just don’t want them to do the same things that their friends do, such as eat a steady diet of chicken nuggets, torture their little siblings or insist on the most popular—which also happen to be the most annoying—smartphone apps.
Smartphone apps can be quite remarkable. Many of them divert your children’s attention from their homework, from their surroundings and from you. To outsiders like you, the parent, they can be awfully annoying, and this article describes a few of the worst. As you read this, though, consider the benefits of apps. When you have technical troubles at home, do you call your friend from church, or do you ask your second-grader for help? That’s right. Most little kids who use apps become quite adept at other digital technologies. You can take a hint and think about how to use them to your advantage. If you become familiar with the kinds of digital technologies your kids are using, you may feel confident enough to expand your horizons and continue your own education by enrolling in online classes.
But before you think seriously about your future, here are a few apps to make you cringe.
- Monkey Preschool Lunchbox: This app is colorful and filled with letters, numbers and shapes. The annoying part? Well, it’s for children who haven’t yet learned to read. That implies that it’s got audio instructions that you get to listen to for as long as your child is playing with it. It’s for the Apple iPhone or iPad.
- Sum’s Stacker: It’s an app for helping children learn to count by matching images of numbers to the corresponding correct-sized piles of dice. Or coins. Or other objects. Actually, it’s somewhat reminiscent of hearing your children sing “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.” It’s cute the first time, and gets a little repetitive when they move on to bottles of wine, cartons of milk and chocolate chip cookies.
- PopMath Basic Math: This app, for the iPhone or iPad, is a little more advanced. It is designed to teach the basic math skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The app is similar to using flashcards, and it is for 5 to 8-year-old children. That sounds okay until you realize that it has sound effects and no time limit. Enough said.
- Bookworm: Beware of any children’s game that boasts stunning sound effects and flaming tiles. Children who build longer words in this smartphone game avoid burning down the library. You might start to get annoyed when you hear constant feedback from the recorded voice.
- Geocaching: At least this one gets your children outside and moving around as they search for hidden trinkets based on GPS hints. The potentially frustrating parts for parents are that the app doesn’t warn about oncoming traffic or help your children learn how to read a map.
Smartphone apps for kids can be pretty annoying, especially when they’re loud and repetitive, and they transport your child to another world far from you. Try to keep an open mind, though. Educational apps can give your children an edge in school and expose them to new ideas, and you can become more technologically savvy if you take the time to play with some apps. You may be surprised to find out how useful apps can be for your children and you, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll find these five apps less annoying.