Hatch - Stay Focused

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Hatch - Stay Focused App Poster Image
Cute creature-hatching focus timer lacks fun incentives.

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

When used as part of an overall strategy to help kids work on time management and focus, Hatch - Stay Focused can help kids break work down into manageable chunks, as well as break the habit of constantly checking their phone or tablet.

Ease of Play

Navigation between tabs doesn't always behave as expected, but the overall interface is easy to use.

Violence

If kids exit before the timer has run down, their creature will die. 

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents should know that Hatch - Stay Focused is a timer designed to help kids (and adults) take a break from their devices to focus on other things, like homework. Although it's intended to stop them from using their devices, it can easily be used as a timer for other things as well. Though kids could use the app with some supervision, and it looks like it's designed for kids and tweens, it's meant for teens. Kids will find a prominent button on their stats screen enticing them to share their statistics on Instagram. There's no parent gate, so parents will want to talk with their kids about whether or not they can use that option. 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?

HATCH - STAY FOCUSED is a timer meant to encourage kids to take screen breaks and focus on other things. Kids set their timers in five-minute increments, which starts the process of hatching an egg with a mystery creature inside. Once it's started, kids can't close the app or run another app. If they do, their egg will explode and they'll lose the creature inside. At the end of the timer, the egg cracks and the mystery creature is revealed. Each creature has an information card about its origin, its personality, etc., as well as how many focus energy points it's worth. These focus energy points help kids level up through various status levels. The levels don't seem to do anything; there are no special features or rewards when you level up. Kids also have a screen that has their stats, including their level, number of focus energy points, and the amount of time spent focusing. There's a button on this screen to share the stats on Instagram.

Is it any good?

This timer has some fun features and may help your kid avoid distraction, but it could use even more incentives. Focus timers are growing in popularity, and kids who enjoy games like Pokémon GO may be motivated by the idea of hatching mystery creatures as they abstain from screen time. Hatch - Stay Focused works as intended in that regard. The creatures are kind of cute, and at first it's fun to see what appears in your eggs. But soon it's clear that there's no way to interact with your growing zoo and there's nothing to do with your amassed focus energy. Teens will be looking for ways to use their points or interact with their collection of creatures in some additional way. That said, it's a solid start that builds a bridge between kids who love to collect creatures and their efforts to stay focused, and since it's free, it's definitely worth a try!

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about healthy technology use and how apps like Hatch - Stay Focused can help. How often should you take breaks? What are the family rules about device use during homework time?

  • Talk about media balance. How do you like this app in comparison with other apps you could use? As you balance your time with devices and without, would this be an app you'd choose to use? Do you think it will help you stay focused? Why, or why not?

App details

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For kids who love time management and staying focused

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