A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
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.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Skills: Emotional Development: empathy, identifying emotions, perspective taking
Responsibility & Ethics: following codes of conduct, making wise decisions, respect for others
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: November 30, 2016
- Category: Education
- Size: 92.60 MB
- Publisher: HabitSev
- Version: 2.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later; Android 2.3.3 and up
- Last updated: March 13, 2017
For kids who love empathy and feelings
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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.