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Donut Dog: Feed your focus!

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Donut Dog: Feed your focus! App Poster Image
Fun focus timer has four paws -- and a few flaws.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can practice staying focused for periods of time and can keep track of how much time they spend on different activities.

Ease of Play

The focus timer is simple, but there are goals, streaks, challenges, etc., which are confusing without any help/tutorial.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

Kids earn coins that they can use to upgrade machines and improve recipes. An upgrade is available (and occasionally encouraged) via in-app purchase with no parent gate. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One special donut seems to be smoking a pipe.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Donut Dog: Feed your focus! is a productivity app. There's a social component if kids choose to sign up for an account, but it can be used without registering. A premium version is also available, which can be activated via in-app purchase (with no parent gate).So, while the app is fine for kids to use, parents should expectations about upgrading before downloading. Though there's some pressure to upgrade, as there are features a basic user can't access (such as turning off notifications), but kids likely won't feel limited using the free version. While the basic focus timer is straightforward, there are challenges, goals, and other special activities that aren't quite as clear. 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?

DONUT DOG: FEED YOUR FOCUS! is an adorable way for kids to track how long they are able to focus on a task. Much like other timers, kids set it and go about an activity, stopping the timer when they're done. While they're focusing, they earn donuts, which they can use to feed their in-app dog, aptly named Focus. There are all different kinds of donuts kids can collect, so part of the fun is in seeing which donuts appeared while you were working. Kids can also earn coins. They use these to buy machines that can enhance donut production, upgrade their donut recipes, and/or unlock certain goals and challenges. Kids can assign their focus time to a variety of activities, such as work, sports, play, and social. Adding custom categories requires a premium account. There are statistics that track how kids have been spending their time, how much they've focused, and how long of a daily streak they've maintained. 

Is it any good?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of staying focused for certain tasks using Donut Dog: Feed your focus! or other methods. What are some examples of activities that require focus? What are some techniques you can use to help you stay focused? Does a focus timer like this one help you or distract you? Why?

  • Discuss in-app purchases and how/if kids can request purchases from an adult. What are the family rules?

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love time-management and staying focused

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