App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
News-O-Matic App Poster Image
Fun, interactive way for kids to learn about the world.

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about current events, countries around the world, and pop culture, on News-O-MaticAs kids read and interact with the five new stories each day, their reading fluency and comprehension as well as vocabulary skills can get a boost. Difficult stories about world news events (edited by a child psychologist before they are published on the app) may help kids learn perspective taking and emotional awareness. News-O-Matic makes daily news topics interactive, engaging, and fun for kids.

Ease of Play

Easy to use. The main screen lays out a few main headlines for the day in blocks with photos, so kids can choose one that looks and sounds interesting to them. The "Read to Me" feature reads news stories aloud to kids. Kids can tap on vocabulary words in the article to learn their meanings, as well as tap on "Fact" to learn a basic fact presented in the article, or "Act" to read an extension question or activity related to the article. Tap "Go There" to view a map of where the topic of the article occurred. The two extra games are easy to play, too.

Violence & Scariness

The app covers news, and some news is violent and upsetting. A special advice section under the "i" tab -- "Upset by the News?" -- gives kids advice on how to handle upsetting news in a healthy way (for example, talking to teachers, parents, and friends about the story). 

Sexy Stuff

At the time of this review, subscription prices were $1.99 per daily issue, $6.99 a week, or $49.99 per year. There are no in-app purchases (other than the subscriptions) and no ads. Subscriptions renew automatically unless you go into your iTunes account and change subscription settings to not renew. Some of the news stories focus on product brands, such as DC Comics super heroes (there's a writing contest sponsored by DC Comics); for-profit organizations; or publicity events, like the MTV Movie Awards.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that News-O-Matic is an interactive, paid subscription-based newspaper for kids ages 7-10. Five news stories -- from world political news to celebrity stories -- are posted on the News-O-Matic app's main page each day. Stories are written by experts, and a child psychologist reviews the articles. There are more than 15 different features on this newsy app, including the stories, puzzles, a word game, and audio. The "Read to Me" feature is beneficial for kids who have auditory processing issues or difficulty with verbal reasoning. The map feature displays the distance from a kid's home to the location of a news story (if the user allows the app to access location), along with a silly distance tracker, like the number of pope hats it takes to get from your home to Vatican City for a story on the Catholic Church.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 and 13-year-old Written bySWHighlander April 18, 2020

Half games

Good news broken down by age appropriateness. Unfortunately it has games on it too, so my son just uses it for extra screen time. Not acceptable, Mr. Developers...
Adult Written byMinionMom345 June 24, 2019
Kid, 11 years old January 9, 2016


News-O-Matic is a really educational news app that you can use to learn about the world. You can write something to the editor, draw pictures for everyone to se... Continue reading

What's it about?

Open the app to view the front page of NEWS-O-MATIC, which includes five top stories of the day with colorful pictures, as well as the games (Puzzle Picture or Mystery Word), news timeline quiz, News Room (interact with the editor), and information features. Tap on a story and the written content appears, with more photos and interactive content. There are many interactive options on each news article's page: Fact, Act, Map, find out about the author, write or draw something, and more. In all, more than 15 options for kids in this newsy app.

Is it any good?

News-O-Matic is an excellent news source for kids at home or in the classroom and well worth the subscription fee -- if your kid will read the five daily stories and delve into the interactive content consistently. For kids who like news, this app is a sure winner. Kids can read about real-world news (or have it read aloud to them by the app's "Read to Me" feature), such as politics and news of the economy, as well as stories with lighter topics like entertainment, celebrities, or sports. You may want to consider trying a few issues before signing up for a longer-term subscription to get a feel for whether the typical range of topics appeals to your kid.

News-O-Matic exposes kids to topics of all kinds, and it tries to include ways to get kids interacting with stories (maps, questions, games, write-the-editor features) far beyond the typical end-of-article multiple-choice quiz on other similar news-for-kids products. With teachers, writers, and a child psychologist on board, News-O-Matic takes news for kids seriously and hope kids will find it fun, too.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Talk with kids about why it's worthwhile to be well-rounded in news and not limit reading to one or two subjects.

  • Consider reading the five articles on the app before your kid does (or with your kid) to prepare for any needed discussion about challenging topics.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love learning about the world

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