Are there apps or tech tools to help kids develop socially?

It may seem counterintuitive, but some apps and other tech tools can help kids develop socially. Just by being digitally connected -- through email, multiplayer games, video-chatting, texting, or photo-sharing, for example -- kids get to practice social interactions, learn the ins and outs of texting protocol, and even bond over a shared love of Club Penguin or Minecraft. Some games encourage collaboration for users to win or move forward, too.

There's also a variety of programs specifically designed to help kids as young as 2 develop social awareness, emotional intelligence, empathy, and coping strategies. Here are a few to try:

  • Sago Mini Friends, age 2+
    Sago Mini Friends lets very young app users explore and play in some of the same ways they play with friends.
  • Daniel Tiger's Grr-ific Feelings, age 3+
    With Daniel Tiger's help, kids identify and express emotions through fun games and songs.
  • Social Adventures, age 5+
    Created by speech and occupational therapists, Social Adventures is an activity app for kids who need help thinking about social situations and acting appropriately in them.
  • My DPS, age 6+
    My DPS ("My Digital Problem Solver") focuses on identifying a variety of emotions through facial expressions, body language, and written as well as spoken language, and it suggests coping strategies to deal with a range of social situations.
  • IF... The Emotional IQ Game, age 8+
    With the help of a wise Zen-like master, kids think about and exercise choices related to core social- and emotional-learning (SEL) skills such as gratitude, helpfulness, and regulation of fear.
  • Kuddle, age 9+
    This social photo-sharing app is designed with kids' safety in mind, and the goal is to teach kids hands-on photo-sharing etiquette.
  • Middle School Confidential 1: Be Confident in Who You Are and Middle School Confidential 2: Real Friends vs the Other Kind, age 11+
    These app-based graphic novels teach kids how to handle and keep friends.
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Kid, 12 years old

Lol! You don't use a special piece of software for that! Use forums! After all, forum means public square in Latin, and the web name is based on that. Just find a "kid friendly" web forum, and sign your kid up. Honestly, using social apps is like sending your kid to a special class or location where instructors teach them how to be social.