We Are Here DIYdoc

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
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Simple DIY documentary tool helps kids share their stories.

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

Educational Value

Kids can start to think about what's important to them and how to express that to others. They can also learn about self-expression through video. Adult support would enhance the educational benefits.

Ease of Play

The app does a great job of leading kids through the process of creating their mini-documentary after they get past the initial menu screen.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that We Are Here DIYdoc is a tool for creating simple documentaries. It comes from a partnership between DIYdoc and Alicia Keys' We Are Here movement. There's no actual content in the app other than videos from Alicia Keys that explain each of the documentary types and invite users to start creating. The documentaries are meant to tackle potentially difficult subjects, and two of them focus on refugees and HIV. When kids are done creating and uploading their video clips, the app processes them into a finished documentary with titles and transitions. While the privacy policy is vague, the app says that content remains private until the user chooses to share it via YouTube or other social media channels. Though it asks users to confirm that they are over the age of 13 before submitting videos for processing, the terms of service require kids to be age 12 and up. Read the app's terms of service to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

WE ARE HERE DIYDOC invites kids to create their own documentaries about themselves and their stories. Kids choose a template from options such as "I Am An Activist," "I Am A Refugee," "I Am So Much More Than HIV," and "I Am Here." There are also two templates with a less serious focus: "I Am Silly" and "I Am... ." Each template has a series of video clips to create with simple instructions for what to do. There may be a question to answer, such as "What do you do every day?" or "What makes you unique?" The app ensures the clips are the appropriate length, making it simple to create a great video. If kids don't like the result, they can rerecord and save over the original. Once a kid finishes recording, the app will prompt them to create an account (or log in) and upload the content. Then it processes the clips into a final video with transitions and special effects and title scenes. Kids can access their videos (which are stored online) via a link in the app, and they can easily share them to social media or download them for their own (noncommercial) use. 

Is it any good?

This is a wonderful introduction to creating documentaries for budding activists or filmmakers. We Are Here DIYdoc is simple and fun to use while serving as a great starting point to get kids talking about things that are important to them. The only real flaw to the app is that the templates are specific and restrictive, making it difficult for kids to share their own stories. With a little support, however, kids should be able to take their experiences in the app and apply them to the content they want to create. There are some concerns over the privacy of the content, which is shared on the DIYdoc servers, so -- as always -- parents should help kids think about what they want to put out there. Beyond that, kids can create on their own or with friends and perhaps even feel empowered to take bigger steps toward making the world a better place. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about sharing stories. Why would someone share their story? Are there any drawbacks to sharing your story publicly though We Are Here DIYdoc? What are your family's rules about what you can and cannot share online?

  • What are other types of documentaries you could make? Are there other subjects you would like to share with the world? How can you use the examples in this app to create your own movies?

  • Discuss the philosophy behind the website and app. What is the motivation to share stories? Can making videos be a way to make a positive contribution?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love making videos and digital presentation

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