Boop Kids - Smart Parenting

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Boop Kids - Smart Parenting App Poster Image
On-screen family interaction without actual connection.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to use screens. Some activities, like a simple drawing pad or music maker, allow for creative expression. One alphabet game asks kids to find matching letters. 

Ease of Play

Must tap twice on icons to navigate, which is atypical.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

In the parents' area, users can tap directly into the iTunes store to look at other apps from same developer.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Boop Kids - Smart Parenting offers kids and parents a virtual platform where they can interact through mini-games and videos. Families create avatar versions of themselves, and those avatars are featured throughout interactions with the app. When setting up the avatars, parents need to provide a name and a birthday for each of their kids. Family members can log in to the same account on multiple devices. The kids' area includes games and short videos to download and watch. The parents' area features snapshots from the activities kids have completed, quizzes that ask about personal likes and dislikes for each member of the family, and invitations to connect to the developer through the newsletter or Facebook. Parents can also set a time limit so that the app locks after 15, 30, or 60 minutes, and choose from 10 languages to use throughout the app. Though parents can adjust the volume, they can't turn off the background music and sound effects. Access to the parents' area requires users to tap and hold two circles. A running news bulletin that appears each time kids open the app encourages users to join the developer's Facebook page or subscribe to the newsletter. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

Start by creating your avatar family in BOOP KIDS - SMART PARENTING. Then there are two main sections: kids games and family control center. Games include drawing, tapping out beats to make music, matching letters, exploring mini virtual worlds, and watching short videos. Tap into the adult area to edit the family avatars, see simple screenshots of what kids did in the kids area, share photos through the device's sharing options, complete quizzes with information about your family, or join the developer's newsletter or Facebook group. The remote control also offers three video tools: Potty Time, Dinner Time, and Sleepy Time, each of which features your family avatars engaging in the relevant activity. Join the same family world from multiple devices with a special code.

Is it any good?

This virtual world seems like nothing more than an opportunity for families to pay to rely on screens rather than real-world interactions. On the positive side, Boop Kids - Smart Parenting offers plenty of variety for creating family avatars, which can help any family feel included and represented. Parental time controls show some awareness of the importance of establishing limits around screen time. And it's a nice concept that multiple members of the family can connect from their own device. However, all those positive features don't outweigh the lackluster content. Some of the downsides are that the mini-games lack creativity and the videos have little value. The quizzes ask about personal preferences without any indication of why the app needs to know this information. The information parents get about their kids' activities is very minimal. And the video tools for potty time, dinner time, and sleepy time are ostensibly to be used as a screen-based backdrop to "encourage" kids to engage in each of those activities despite experts' recommendations for not using screens near bedtime and for having screen-free meals. Since families can actually connect via a screen using Skype, Facetime, or other apps that let you record and respond to video messages from different time zones, it's difficult to create content that competes with seeing someone's face and talking to them, which research shows is the best way for little kids to use screens in a social way. If there were more authentic, connective elements, it might have more benefits, but as it stands, there are better ways to foster family interaction.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about games kids play in Boop Kids - Smart Parenting. Have kids tell stories about the dinosaurs they meet in Dinosaur World or the games they play at the virtual park.

  • Discuss your family's rules and expectations around using screens. Talk about setting limits and encourage kids to engage in plenty of offscreen activities as well.

  • Help kids connect with faraway loved ones or busy parents through offscreen methods like sharing drawings, notes, or cards. Or use apps that allow for meaningful interaction.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Skills: Creativity: producing new content
    Tech Skills: using and applying technology
  • Price: Free to try
  • Pricing structure: Free to try (Limited content with free download. Subscribe for $5.99/month or $29.99/year; 7-day free trial available)
  • Release date: February 15, 2019
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 430.30 MB
  • Publisher: LemonChili Games
  • Version: 1.0.18
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later; Android 4.3 and up
  • Last updated: June 19, 2019

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