The Adventures of Ash & Ollie: Screen Time

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Adventures of Ash & Ollie: Screen Time App Poster Image
Sweet story about screen time helps kids understand limits.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn why setting screen-time limits is important and how to balance screen time with time spent being active in the real world. As they listen to the story, kids can gain perspective on how easily screen time can take over their playtime hours. The story (and follow-up discussion with a parent) may encourage kids to reflect on their own screen-time habits and make wise decisions about time management. Kids apply technology as they upload photos to the app's album. The story also skillfully weaves together tech words and kids' words ("our own social network, it's called a play date!"), helping kids learn about how technology relates to everyday life for kids and adults. This fun, interactive storybook app can help kids manage the realities of life in the digital age.

Ease of Play

Easy for kids to use. The storybook includes simple page turns and excellent voice narration. Kids tap on the screen to watch objects on the book pages animate. The app's mini-game includes an easy mode, in which the rocket follows the player's finger. The parent portion requires more work than the average app and includes creating or logging into an already created account on the Fingerprint Network. 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

There are a lot of colorful, large images of other app icons under a "Games You May Like" message under the Fingerprint Network icon on the main screen that shows more of the developer's apps recommended for your kid, which it calls a "Curated Game Catalog." Tap that, and there's also a "Get It" icon that kids can tap, which moves to the app store, although it's kid-protected. If parents enter an email address, they may begin to receive promotional emails with app offers from Fingerprint.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Adventures of Ash & Ollie: Screen Time is an interactive storybook about two brothers learning to follow their parents' rules for screen-time limits. As the first in a series of app storybooks that focus on social and emotional learning, this story reinforces the message that "the world isn't just one big screen" and that kids need a balance between tech and other kinds of play. "Our screens are like magnets, oh so attractive. But we know it's important to also stay active," say the brothers. The app also includes a mini-game in which kids collect stars by navigating a rocket ship and a photo album that asks kids about fun things they're doing offline and prompts them to upload pictures related to those activities. This app is part of the Fingerprint Network of apps, which encourages parents to establish an account for more features.

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What's it about?

Create an account, or sign into an existing account on the Fingerprint game network of apps. View the tutorial, then read or listen to the storybook app, and tap the screen to discover animated objects on each page. Choose easy or regular mode for the mini-game, where kids navigate a rocket through a sky of stars, collecting stars as they go. Kids and parents also can upload photos to the in-app photo album.

Is it any good?

THE ADVENTURES OF ASH & OLLIE: SCREEN TIME's rhyming story is a brilliant way to get kids thinking about the importance of screen-time limits. It's fun for kids to listen to this non-preachy story, which stars two happy brothers and includes animated objects that kids can discover on each page.

As kids soak in the message that screen time is fun, so long as it's only one part of a balanced life, they also can play a very simple, just-for-fun game. The in-app photo album is intended for kids to take a pictures of offline activities, such as a favorite snack or a fun thing to do outside, although encouraging young kids to begin taking photos with mobile devices of naturally offline activities doesn't exactly fit the app's overall message. Also, very young kids using this app may not be ready for that feature and might want to stick to the storybook and game (in easy mode). The only real downside to this app is the bothersome amount of marketing of the developer's other apps. With fewer ads, The Adventures of Ash & Ollie could be a perfect use of screen time.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about screen time. This lighthearted but clear-headed storybook app can be a great way to introduce (or reinforce lapsed) clear screen-time rules to your kid. Read Common Sense Media's "How to Set Screen Rules That Stick."

  • Talk with your kid about the differences between online and offline fun. For example, Ash and Ollie's mini-game includes a rocket ship that "catches" stars for points; you and your kid may also go outside at night to look at real stars. What makes each experience uniquely fun?

  • Ask your kids if they notice in the storybook how the kids monitor their screen time. If your kids are old enough to use a timer, ask them if they'd be interested in trying a similar self-monitoring method to help learn self-regulation. 

App details

For kids who love book apps and preschool apps

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