Random App of Kindness

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Random App of Kindness App Poster Image
Silly fun affects empathy with some iffy content.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Rich variety of games helps kids develop social-emotional skills such as empathy, self-regulation, and conflict resolution. Kids may not make the connection from the gameplay to the concepts, though, and could benefit from a conversation about putting it all together.

Ease of Play

Games can be tricky to figure out and aren't all consistent in ways to succeed.

Violence

Suggested death and cartoon-style violence. Grandma gets hit by a car, falls to ground, and an angel-like figure floats away. Option of giving a crying baby poison.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Random App of Kindness is nine mini-games designed by researchers from several universities working together to see if mobile app activities increased kids' empathy and social-emotional learning. Preliminary results were outstanding; a full study will be released. Each activity is based on brain research, and kids interact with babies, dogs, grandmothers, and other people to improve their empathy and social skills. There's some mild violence if players don't get the grandma across the street in time -- she gets hit by a car, thuds to the ground, and then floats away as an apparition. Also, kids have the chance to comfort a crying baby with a bottle of poison or scissors. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

User Reviews

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  • Kids say

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Kid, 9 years old December 31, 2017

awesome

there are only a few people

What's it about?

RANDOM APP OF KINDNESS has players help people and animals through eight scenarios that, research shows, help develop empathy and social skills. They practice executive functioning skills as they read a plant's cues to water and stop watering. In another mini-game, users practice reading facial emotions, responding to cries, helping others, and handling conflict through short, challenging games. Each activity has to be successfully completed three times to unlock the next, eventually populating a city sidewalk. Kids get immediate feedback after each game, such as hearing "You lost" or a praising comment.

Is it any good?

The evidence-backed claims about these social-emotional activities are impressive, but the content of the games is puzzling if not troubling. Each activity in Random App of Kindness has a research-supported focus -- petting animals to elicit empathy, for example -- but without some side-by-side guidance about what each activity is trying to do, kids may just laugh at grandma getting hit by a car and floating off as an angel or handing a baby in a crib a pair of scissors. The timing and hand-eye coordination of some of the activities may frustrate kids, too, if they aren't successful after a few tries. Though it's an interesting premise with good intentions, it's a toss-up whether this is a silly shocker or a science-backed tool. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the significance of each of the games in Random App of Kindness so kids understand the social-emotional skills they're practicing. How do these games apply to real life?

  • Encourage kids to be helpful and kind by brainstorming how they can help others. Look for inspiration from the app but encourage them to think of other ways they can help those around them every day.

App details

For kids who love empathy and feelings

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