Parents' Guide to


By Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Solid, simple tool kids can use to ask for help.

notOK: The notOK app features green and red buttons indicating kids are not feeling OK or are feeling better.

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this app.

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This app doesn't have any bells and whistles to entertain or engage kids -- but it offers them a simple way to reach out to people if they're struggling, and it's free to use. Fifteen-year-old Hannah Lucas, who'd developed anxiety and depression after being diagnosed with a medical condition that could cause her to faint, designed the notOK app with help from her brother, Charlie, based on an idea she had about being able to press a button to immediately let someone know she wasn't OK. Once kids register for it, they can add one to five contacts, who will receive an alert if kids tap on the button located on the app's homepage. The text message includes the person's name and says, "I'm notOK. Please call, text, or come check on me as soon as you can," with a link recipients can click on to indicate if they can respond. The app then displays a breathing exercise kids can utilize involving the words inhale, hold, and exhale.

The random quotes that appear beneath the location map in alerts feel somewhat out of place -- if kids are trying to communicate distress, a lighthearted comment from Audrey Hepburn about how much she loves chocolate cake, or one from Marilyn Monroe about shoes, could convey the wrong tone. In general, though, the app is a simple, yet clever concept -- which could help kids who aren't sure how to put their feelings into words or are uncomfortable reaching out directly to someone ask for help. There isn't much too content within the app, aside from the alert button that's shaped like a comic strip speech bubble. The only other items are a page with your account information, one where you can add contacts, and a short list of mental health resources -- comprised of a few links to hotlines and a link to online PTSD and other screening tests on nonprofit association Mental Health America's website. More information on dealing with anxiety or depression would be great -- but even without it, as a free, easy-to-use notification service, notOK can be a beneficial resource for kids to have on hand.

App Details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: February 13, 2021
  • Category: Health & Fitness
  • Publisher: Bee & Bug
  • Version: 1.4.5
  • Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 10 or later or Android 4.4 and up.
  • Last updated: March 18, 2023

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