#SelfCare

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
#SelfCare App Poster Image
Calming virtual space to explore feelings, relax.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can work on self-reflection and self-awareness. Calming activities can help with focus and coping with strong feelings. Journal prompts and tarot cards may help teens find meaning in and process feelings. Positive affirmations can provide inspiration and positivity.

Ease of Play

Given the app's unique set up, it may take a little exploration to understand what it's all about.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that #Selfcare is an emotional companion app for teens and up that uses artificial intelligence to interact with users. The home screen is a bedroom, which is described as a safe space where users can explore different techniques and activities to promote calming, self-reflection, mindfulness, and general emotional wellbeing. There is potential for teens to share personal thoughts and feelings with the app. The privacy policy states that all user input is stored locally on the user's device or personal cloud. There are a few links to third-party sites such as the International Association for Suicide Prevention. The terms of service specify that #Selfcare was developed based on principles of adult psychology, and that users must be 16 years of age or older, but there's no content that's inappropriate for younger teens. There's a section that features Tarot cards, though it's not a central part of the app. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

The home base in #SELFCARE is a bird's eye view of a bedroom. Tap around it to discover different activities that intend to calm and support -- and create a joyous, loving space for users. For example, tap on bubbles to calmly "blow" bigger and bigger bubbles on the screen. A deck of tarot cards is available for a daily reading. Journal prompts ask users to reflect, and positive affirmations aim to inspire. Throughout the activities, and as users visit the app regularly and tap around the bedroom, artificial intelligence generated messages appear on screen to encourage, inspire, and provide hope and optimism. In theory, over time, the messages and content become better targeted and more relevant to the user.

Is it any good?

This combination digital journal, self-affirmation, calming oasis is certainly unique -- but can take getting used to and isn't going to feel right for everyone. #Selfcare succeeds in creating a soothing environment and in combining a variety of ways for teens to connect. And it might be especially unseful for kids who don't have a space all their own. The messages, activities, and overall feel of the app are gentle, kind, and compassionate. Some teens may find the opportunities for self-reflection therapeutic, or the calming exercises beneficial. Others may find that the app doesn't resonate with them. And, some teens may feel just fine with delving into these personal topics through a screen and interacting through artificial intelligence, whereas others will not. Similarly, some of the activities, such as journaling, work just fine in an app. Others, such as petting a cat to hear its purr, just doesn't feel the same on a screen -- nor does it likely have the same calming benefits. The bottom line is that #Selfcare does a nice job of creating a safe space for emotional exploration, but its digital setting, and its approach, may not appeal to all.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how using #Selfcare makes teens feel. Is it a safe place to release and process emotions? Do the questions, affirmations, and activities make you feel better?

  • How is this app the same or different from the majority of games or other apps? Does using #Selfcare feel different than other things you use your phone to do?

  • Provide opportunities for teens to unwind and process emotions in multiple ways. What helps your teen feel calm, grounded, and connected?  

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love journaling and meditation

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