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Dear Diary - An Interactive Story About Anna's Secrets
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dear Diary - An Interactive Story about Anna's Secrets is a peek into a 15-year-old girl's diary. It's pretty innocent teen fodder: boys and clothes and school projects. Though she has concerns about kissing and uses language such as "screwed up" and "hell," entries are relatively tame. The diary kicks off with Anna drawing an unflattering picture of her teacher and disposing of the note when confronted, but she still seems to be a good student. Access is an issue: Teens can only read one entry per day for free. After that, they have to watch a commercial for every entry or pay $1.99. Either way, they only get five more entries and then have to wait 24 hours for the next entry to be unlocked.
What's it about?
DEAR DIARY - AN INTERACTIVE STORY ABOUT ANNA'S SECRETS shows how one girl's daily life in high school plays out. Readers get one free key per day to unlock her diary and read an entry. Some entries have choices that readers can help with: Should Anna wear the blue dress or the red dress to the party? Address the umanities or science for a school project? Ask Rick out or ask Martin out? Each answer affects the direction of the story and can't be changed until the story plays out. Once tweens have read the whole diary, they can go back and change answers to see how that affects the outcome.
Is it any good?
This sweet story with relatable characters and situations is a fun, interactive concept, marred only by the incessant ads for other apps. Ads can be disabled through an in-app purchase, though. Tweens may find waiting for entries to be frustrating, but that's part of the appeal; it's almost like seeing a serial story play out in episodes. The story is well written, though stereotypical, with concerns over boys and clothes; a slightly more empowered female character would make the story more interesting. Anna is a good student and sets a good example in that regard, and even though she judges her siblings and family members somewhat, she genuinely respects them. Watching the ads or buying keys to read a few more entries still isn't all that satisfying, especially since there's still a daily limit. Readers have to wait -- which, in this day of instant gratification, isn't a bad practice.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the choices they made for Anna and discuss the pros and cons of each, working in parenting advice about dating and relationships.
Since the story plays out in diary entries that are almost like episodes of a TV show, check out Yes, You Can Make TV Time Count for ideas about what to talk about with tweens as they read Anna's diary.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Price: Free (with in-app purchases)
- Pricing structure: Free (One key per day to read one entry. Additional entries (up to five per day) can be read by viewing ads or by purchasing for $1.99.)
- Release date: July 2, 2015
- Category: Simulation Games
- Size: 35.90 MB
- Publisher: Tapps Tecnologia da Informação Ltda
- Version: 1.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later
For kids who love simulation games and diaries
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.