A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
To use PACIFICA FOR STRESS & ANXIETY, first choose a theme based on a nature scene. Enter a nickname and your email address and create a password, or sign up with Facebook or Google (be aware that accessing the app using social media accounts may give it access to more personal information). Choose goals from the app's "What are your goals?" list and select a "good time to focus on yourself each day." Let the app know if you're working with a mental health professional, or choose to skip that question. From the results of these questions, Pacifica customizes the app for you. Track your mood daily and get suggestions about the activities in the "tools" based on your mood and goals. Post and read in the app's community forums. View your history.
Is it any good?
There's a toolbox full of features on this anxiety and depression support app that may feel on-target or overwhelming, depending on the user, and it's important to be mindful of safety and privacy concerns. Pacifica for Stress & Anxiety is clearly a nice-looking app -- the scenes, colors, and icons are pretty. There are so many ways here for adults and teens to get new ideas, reflect, gain perspective, and get support, including by encouraging their own therapist to access the information that the user enters into the app or by finding a therapist. Some of the groups and threads in the community support area have substantive content, while others are pretty general and thin. It's worth noting that it may be possible that some people who are battling anxiety, stress, or depression may find this app just too overwhelming; the sheer number of choices may be too much for someone who's already overwhelmed. There are apps out there with more guidance and fewer choices -- and that just feel calmer for those needing something simple. It's important to note that this type of app is not for a teen in acute crisis who is thinking about self-harm, and it would be great for this type of app to state this up front. Also, as with any app that allows contact between your teen and strangers, parents will want to monitor and talk to kids about safe use. That said, Pacifica for Stress & Anxiety's free features are well worth a try, if for no other reason than to monitor moods, learn to embrace the language of emotion, and find like-minded people.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Pacifica for Stress & Anxiety can help teens track their moods, support a better frame of mind, and develop new, healthy habits. What are some ways to do this outside of the app as well?
Discuss with your teen how important it is for people to take an active role in their own mental health by developing healthy habits, such as sleep, identifying feelings, and reducing stress. What are some steps to take that might be helpful?
Use emotions-based vocabulary in your own daily conversations with your kid. Read Common Sense Media's How to Talk to Kids About Difficult Subjects.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, Android
- Skills: Self-Direction: personal growth
Emotional Development: developing resilience, handling stress, identifying emotions, labeling feelings, self-awareness
Responsibility & Ethics: respect for others
Health & Fitness: meditation, mental health
- Price: Free to try
- Pricing structure: Free to Try
- Subscription price: $8.99/mo.; $53.99/yr.; $199.99/lifetime.
- Release date: March 9, 2018
- Category: Health & Fitness
- Size: 137.10 MB
- Publisher: Pacifica Labs Inc.
- Version: 6.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 9.0 or later; Android varies with device
For kids who love health and meditation
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.