A lot or a little?
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What's it about?
SOCIAL DETECTIVE opens with a song reminding kids of the tools they can use to have social smarts. New users select an avatar, enter their names, and listen to an explanation of each level. During the pretest, motionless comics demonstrate the intended behavior and kids are asked to answer questions based on the level. On Level 1 kids determine whether the behavior shown is expected or unexpected. On Level 2, they decide whether one character's action makes the other character feel good or uncomfortable. Finally, on Level 3, users are asked to anticipate what might happen next. Once the four-question pretest is finished, kids practice these skills using video recordings of actual kids in different social situations. Correct choices are met with a green highlighted answer and a positive tone, while incorrect choices are explained verbally and kids can try again. Each section of the app has a narrator that speaks clearly and directly, eliminating any reading that may need to happen. Data is collected on the home screen for the five most recent attempts at each level for each user.
Is it any good?
Though the look and feel are a bit outdated, this set of practice exercises is an incredible video resource for kids who may benefit from practicing social pragmatic language. Younger users may need consistent parent support while learning these behaviors, transferring these skills to real life by utilizing consistent vocabulary (expected vs. unexpected behavior) and using social tools to assess situations (for example, looking with your whole body). The vast variety of scenarios offered as kids progress from video to video is astounding, and kids can practice picking out which expected behavior to look for when they're in that situation next time. Research is available on the Social Thinking website along with links to curriculum to enhance pragmatic language development, so the approach and content are sound. Some kids (and parents) might find the overall look and functionality to be a little old school and it's pretty pricey, but if you look past the imperfections, the inclusion of videos starring real kids (even if a bit cheesy at times) is much more powerful than tips and instruction without context.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about other tools that can help with social interactions. Is this type of tool helpful? Why, or why not?
Discuss what to expect when entering social situations that may be challenging for kids. When grocery shopping during a busy time of day, help kids use their social detective tools when waiting in line to decide which behaviors would make others around them have positive thoughts or what should happen next.
Reinforce the app's language and content as kids make choices during the day. Are they using an expected or unexpected behavior?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Skills: Emotional Development: labeling feelings, perspective taking
Communication: friendship building, multiple forms of expression
Collaboration: respecting other viewpoints
Responsibility & Ethics: following codes of conduct, honoring the community, making wise decisions, respect for others
- Price: 17.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Release date: April 1, 2016
- Category: Education
- Size: 135.00 MB
- Publisher: Social Skill Builder, Inc.
- Version: 1.2
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.1 or later
- Last updated: February 27, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love empathy and collaboration
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.