A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
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.
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 & Scariness
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.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
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.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
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.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
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.
Is It Any Good?
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!
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.