A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn about identifying similar shapes, colors, objects, solving puzzles. Game instructions offer some reading practice; kids will also strengthen memory skills if they play a matching game. They earn prizes for completing activities, which can encourage them to finish what they’ve started. Photo game lets kids be creative, add elements to a snapshot. Games aren't all necessarily learning-based -- some are just for fun, videos are even less educationally minded (some are essentially ads). But some activities can provide some learning experiences.
Kids are rewarded for completing activities, which can encourage them to set and work toward goals.
Ease of Play
Some activities feature pretty clear instructions; some aren't quite as explanatory.
Products & Purchases
Ads for Barbie, other products pop up fairly frequently; some app videos are also essentially commercials.
Parents Need to Know
Is It Any Good?
This game and video based app can be amusing, but unfortunately, the constant and blatant advertising for the brand's dolls really detracts from the overall experience. Living a Barbie Life apparently involves a few main activities -- primarily watching videos and playing fairly simply games. There isn't really a comprehensive theme; the content involves matching games, animated video blogger entries, puzzle challenges -- essentially a hodge podge of items. There's one thing tying them all together -- Barbie -- but little explanation about the app's overall intent or offerings. More written content would be great. For instance, some activities begin with pretty clear instructions, while others don't. Other games just highlight or point to key items to get the user started, which is great for younger kids without strong reading skills, although it can be a bit confusing to follow at times. There doesn't seem to be any FAQ, written tips, or other verbal content to help guide you through the experience; even a list of what the app entails would be nice, so you didn't have to click through each item, wondering if you'd missed anything.
That said, there are some positive points to the app: It doesn't contain any objectionable content, for one. Kids don't need to enter personal information or sign in to use it, and they shouldn't come into contact with any strangers on it, so parents don't have to worry that this won't be a safe experience. It's a product-based app, so some indirect promotion is to be expected, such as Barbie being heavily featured in games. The ads that pop up and the fact kids can watch what essentially are commercials promoting Mattel products, though, may not sit well with some adults.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.