Flat Stanley

 
(i)

 

Learning(i)

Fun way to explore world cultures; use privacy options.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

This app has a lot of neat potential, but it can be difficult to navigate without any clear instructions. Users can search for friends and see updates by other app users, including new cartoon images created and photos taken. Users can comment on and like one another's photos and see a map of where the photos were taken. When creating their own cartoon "Stanleys," kids have a wide range of options for their appearance. Kids can then take photos with their Stanley onscreen, so he appears in the picture, and share this photo within the app or through other social media.

Violence

A few of the cartoon image options are military personnel. User-submitted photos could also contain violent material, but photos can be flagged as inappropriate. The developer aims to keep violence out of the app.

Sex

User-submitted photos could contain sexual material, but photos can be flagged as inappropriate. The developer aims to keep nudity out of the app. During our review, we found Stanley saying "wow" to a belly dancer with her midriff exposed.

Language

User-submitted captions and comments could contain poor language, but photos can be flagged as inappropriate. The developer aims to keep profanity out of the app.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The developer aims to keep drugs and alcohol out of the content. User-submitted captions and comments could contain drinking, drugs, or smoking, but photos can be flagged as inappropriate.

Privacy & safety

Some privacy concerns. The app requests access to a user's location and displays the location of shared photos on a map (though this can be disabled for individual photos or permanently). Users are asked to create an account by sharing an email address (or login with Facebook, Twitter, or Google). Users under age 13 will need parent confirmation by email to create accounts. Friends can be imported from the user's contact list, Facebook, Twitter, or Gmail contacts; users can also be found by their usernames or email addresses. Photos can be shared within the app or by Facebook, Twitter, or email. Users can also change the settings to make their accounts or photos private to only see and share content with selected friends.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Flat Stanley is an interesting adaptation of the paper game in which a paper doll is sent around the world, and all the recipients send photos of themselves with the doll back to the original sender. The aim is to expose kids to different places and cultures and cultivate a "flatter" world. In this digital version, users can choose among diverse dolls or create their own, then take pictures with the doll superimposed so it appears in the photo. Pictures can be shared with other users or via social media. Users can see view, like, and comment on each other's photos and their locations. Inappropriate photos can be flagged and are removed. The developers are committed to making the app safe and educational, but kids will need active participation from parents to manage privacy settings. Parents should look for guidance on how to do this in the "about" section of the profile.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding
  • global awareness

Arts

  • photography

Skills

Creativity

  • making new creations

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • multiple forms of expression

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

The interesting (sometimes funny) photos posted and the ability to create individual Flat Stanleys and Flat Stellas make this app highly engaging.

Learning Approach

By creating Stanleys and Stellas, kids practice creative storytelling and learn about digital media as they share their creations with others. As kids view Stanley/Stella photos from around the world, they gain global awareness.

Support

The settings are easy to find and use to control what information you want shared publicly. Flat Stanley books, website, and more can help kids expand on the app experience.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding
  • global awareness

Arts

  • photography

Skills

Creativity

  • making new creations

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • multiple forms of expression

Kids can learn about global awareness and cultural understanding with Flat Stanley. The app's photos -- though often just funny and silly -- can expose kids to different places and cultures, and give kids some context for geography as they peruse Stanleys on the world map. The multiple and customizable Stanleys (and Stellas!) promote diversity, and the profiles kids create encourage trying new foods and exploring new places. Kids can learn creative and digital skills by taking and sharing their own photos. Flat Stanley can spark conversation and spur creativity, but some guidance is needed.

This Learning Rating review was written by Liz Panarelli

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What's it about?

Flat Stanley is a digital version of the game in which a paper doll is sent around the world, and all the recipients write letters and send photos of themselves with the doll back to the original sender. As with the game and the original book, the aim is to expose kids to different places and cultures and cultivate a "flatter" world. Kids can choose among diverse dolls or create their own, then take a photo with the doll superimposed onto the photo. Pictures can be shared with other users or via social media.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The FLAT STANLEY model of exposing kids to different cultures and places around the world is fantastic, and this app really does bring the world to your fingertips. The ability to design your own Stanley and then incorporate him into your photos leaves lots of room for creativity.

The user-submitted content and privacy issues can be worrying, but the developer seems committed to keeping the app educational and fun, with a "specially trained crew that approves all content shared with the Flatter World users." Just be sure to delve into the app's settings a bit. Safe travels!

Families can talk about...

  • When kids learn about a new place in the news or at school, help your child find Stanleys in that place to learn more about it.  

  • Help kids identify friends and family with whom they can share their digital Stanleys to spark conversations about living and traveling in different places.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:July 23, 2012
Category:Education
Size:15.30 MB
Publisher:Flatter World, Inc.
Version:2.2.3
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.0 or later

This review of Flat Stanley was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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