Fit Brains Trainer

App review by
Galen McQuillen, Common Sense Media
Fit Brains Trainer App Poster Image
Brain training is diverting but may not live up to hype.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn how to do the exercises more quickly and precisely and might pick up a word or two in a foreign language. They also might be able to translate some of their experience working under pressure to other timed activities. The developers make some pretty big claims, and though it's surely true that persistence through the app's many games will result in improvement within those exercises, contemporary research shows no real evidence that those improvements translate to real life. If used with low expectations and an eye on working under pressure, Fit Brains Trainer is an entertaining distraction that may not live up to its claims but may be a way for kids to practice working under time restraints.

Ease of Play

Everything from the sign-up process to "calibration" to modifying settings is extremely easy and intuitive, and gameplay couldn't be smoother.

Violence
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Consumerism

Doing more than a small amount of daily training requires a subscription, which can get pretty pricey. While there aren't a lot of pop-up reminders or other obtrusive ads, there are plenty of "locked" icons, which bring up an in-app-purchase screen without a parent gate.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Fit Brains Trainer is a suite of daily brain-training exercises targeted at adults that claims to improve working memory, cognition, emotional intelligence, IQ, and more. Despite its target audience, much of the app is totally appropriate for even elementary school-age kids, as the puzzles involve shapes, numbers, letters, and a few words (some in other languages). While the big gains the developers promise might not happen for most kids (or adults), these puzzles are as addictive as they are innocuous, so they're a perfectly fine way to let kids pass the time. Note that there are social media links available in the app, and read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

FIT BRAINS TRAINER is a set of daily brain-training exercises that aims to help adults improve working memory, intelligence, emotional reasoning, spatial awareness, and other mental capacities. Similar to other brain-trainers, it has a rotating series of rapid-fire games, and ranks players' correctness and speed against millions of other people. The app generates a personalized daily training schedule based on the player's customized, desired areas of growth, or the games can be played as standalones at any time. While the app is targeted at adults, most of the content is accessible to young players, as it mostly uses shapes, numbers, letters, and pictures for the games. Paying for a subscription unlocks more customization features and the ability to play many more games than in the free version. 

Is it any good?

As a set of addictive, fast-paced puzzle games, this brain trainer can be a lot of fun, but as a way to actually improve brain power it probably falls short. Most contemporary research shows that this kind of app actually has no effect on brain power outside the app itself, so any gains probably won't translate to real-world skills. If you're expecting this to make your kids better at their schoolwork or fix attention or emotional issues, you'll likely be disappointed. If you're looking for something without cartoony characters or flashy animations but with stimulating gameplay to pass the time, this will do the trick -- and it certainly can't hurt. Many of the puzzles are very similar to those found on common IQ tests, so using the games might bump up your score on those exams, and it might help kids get quicker or more comfortable working under time constraints, so it's possible there are some benefits.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the value of patience, persistence, and precision, both in video games and in the real world. Talk to kids about whether they think practicing these skills in games will make it easier to be patient, persistent, and precise in other things, such as school work.

  • Discuss what it means to be "intelligent" with kids. The app is quick to compare your performance to the distributions of all other users, but scoring high on a memory game doesn't necessarily make someone smarter than other people. Why are we so interested in how we stack up to our friends and to strangers? What are the differences among cleverness, skill, and knowledge?

App details

For kids who love problem solving and skill building

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