Parents' Guide to

Donut Dog: Feed your focus!

By Christy Matte, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Fun focus timer has four paws -- and a few flaws.

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There's something fun about collecting donuts to feed to a virtual dog, especially in the name of enhanced productivity, but it may not be the best model for some. If you have a collect-all-the-items mentality, Donut Dog: Feed Your Focus certainly makes you want to stay focused. But there are two flaws that tend to impact this sort of gamified productivity experience, and Donut Dog: Feed Your Focus falls prey to both. The first is that they are easy to cheat. Turn on the time, set your device aside, and do whatever you want. Watch TV, ride a bike, take a nap. All it forces you to do is put down the device it's installed on. The second, and perhaps more challenging, is that the app is itself a distraction. To its credit, it seems to take forever to earn just one donut (in reality, it's 10 minutes), but once you've earned the donuts, you are prompted to share the news with friends and then you'll want to feed the donuts to your dog. If you've earned coins, you'll want to browse around to see where can spend them. And while doing that, you'll probably want to look over the goals, streaks, and challenges to see what you might be working toward. You have to be extremely motivated by virtual donuts to counteract the time spent playing around on the app. Donut Dog: Feed Your Focus is also missing a general help or tutorial, especially for the Donut Store, which houses all sorts of things to earn an unlock. In the end, this one is cute, but whether it enhances productivity is up for debate.

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