The Social Express II

  • Device: iPad
  • Price: Free to download; subscription required
  • Category: Education

Common Sense Media says

Engaging animated lessons help kids learn key social skills.
  • Device: iPad
  • Price: Free to download; subscription required
  • Category: Education

Age(i)

2
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10
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17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

There's a lot of reading involved in the directions, so non-readers will need support. Parents will have to set up and manage accounts for kids; this process isn't always intuitive, but when kids are using the app, the controls are mostly intuitive, and tutorial directions guide them throughout the lesson.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The app is free to install and comes with a 10-day free trial. After that you'll need a subscription, which is $4.99/month per child.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

The developer provides its privacy policy on its website, but it's not clear whether the policy also applies to the app. When you set up a user profile, there are fields for a child's first name, last name, and username. Kids can optionally participate (with a parent's permission) in the Clubhouse, The Social Express's private social network. Unfortunately, kids' real name, age, and hometown may be displayed, and kids have the option to upload their real picture.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Social Express is an excellent, animated app for boosting kids' social-awareness skills. Each lesson presents daily interactive social situations using video modeling, "hidden rules," and suggestions for how to problem-solve in daily life. The two levels of play are differentiated with basic cues for beginners and more social situations for intermediate users. Parents should note that kids have the option to participate in The Social Express' private social network, where they can reveal their real names and hometowns. We don't recommend allowing kids to reveal this kind of personal information.

What kids can learn

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making
  • making conclusions
  • problem solving

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • identifying emotions
  • self-awareness

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • friendship building

Responsibility & Ethics

  • making wise decisions
  • respect for others

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Exquisite graphics and animation. Kids will feel as if they're interacting with a character from their favorite animated movies. Each scenario will be familiar to elementary and middle school children, making this a go-to app.

Learning Approach

Kids are actively involved in determining appropriate social cues as they help the characters make choices in a variety of real-life situations. These are skills kids can use while playing with friends and classmates.

Support

The app contains a detailed tutorial for both parents and students.

What kids can learn

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making
  • making conclusions
  • problem solving

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • identifying emotions
  • self-awareness

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • friendship building

Responsibility & Ethics

  • making wise decisions
  • respect for others

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn to identify how their peers are feeling, coping strategies, the importance of eye contact, and a host of core social skills needed to function in daily life. The app uses real-life social situations to help kids identify with their own lives. The printables include visual tools such as emotions and words that kids can keep with them when they are out in the community or at school. The Social Express covers an all-inclusive set of social stories that will encourage kids to have successful interactions in all parts of their lives.

This Learning Rating review was written by Vicki Windman

Parents say

Kids say

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What's it about?

After setting up or selecting a profile, parents or kids choose a beginner or intermediate webisode. They'll see an introduction screen with the title of the webisode, the goal, and a summary. The fully animated lessons target many of the social skills kids encounter in their day-to-day lives. Kids help each character resolve social situations at locations around town including a cafe, a fire station, a music store, and a park. Beginner lessons encourage kids to explore nonverbal cues and the importance of eye contact. Intermediate lessons help kids transfer social rules into real life. Every lesson offers the option to stop and replay.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

THE SOCIAL EXPRESS does a fantastic job of offering kids a natural way to understand and practice key social cues and skills that are needed for success in life. The app uses beautiful visuals and animation to present realistic day-to-day social scenarios. Each lesson offers kids the chance to make decisions about the choices the characters make, and kids can try again if they respond incorrectly. Repeating the lessons can help increase a child's social awareness. Printables allow kids to have a tangible reminder about coping strategies, feelings, and more; kids can carry these with them or post them on a wall.

Part of what makes the app shine is the guidance it gives parents, from the guide for parents (available on the Social Express website) to the "teaching tips" that appear during a lesson (tips can be turned off for kids using the app independently). There are not many downsides to the app, but the Clubhouse social network raises privacy concerns because kids can reveal personal information. It's optional, though, so parents can simply choose not to allow kids to participate until the privacy issues are corrected, and kids can enjoy learning with the other parts of this fabulous app.

Families can talk about...

  • Spend some time on the Social Express website before introducing the app. When logged in, you'll see a "Getting Started" guide that's not available thorough the app.

  • Help kids make connections between what they're learning with The Social Express and real-life social situations.

  • Check out the My DPS app, which can help kids with coping strategies on the go.

App details

Device:iPad
Price:Free to download; subscription required
Pricing structure:Free
Subscription price:$4.99/month
Release date:December 23, 2013
Category:Education
Topics:Friendship
Size:29.00 MB
Publisher:The Language Express, Inc.
Version:1.2
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.0 or later

This review of The Social Express II was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byRebeccaC 1 January 2, 2015
AGE
7
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Great interactive tasks to help kids understand hidden rules of social and emotional situations.

This is so well constructed. My kids fall on the "average" spectrum of behavior, and I found this so beneficial. I love the game allows kids to see the outcomes and consequences of different behaviors and really helps them to learn to think about social situations from how someone else might experience it. Great, great, great.
What other families should know
Easy to play/use
Parent of a 7 year old Written byAnechka August 28, 2014
AGE
6
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Boring

My son didn't even want to play it, at all. In theory it is a good idea, but if it is no fun then it doesn't work.
What other families should know
Easy to play/use

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