Apps for (small) children – a (little) typology
Die deutsche Version gibt es hier.
- There is a big variety of apps for children
- They can be divided into 5 types
- Cons: advertising, in-app purchase and delusive product descriptions
- Pros: low costs, diverting, high-quality design, educational
The idea that Smartphone and tablet are present also in the lives of small children isn’t new to frequent readers of my blog. But what exactly do children with these devices? The magazine „klein & groß“ asked me to look into this subject more closely. What came out of this is an inventory of different types of apps for young children. Basically there can be differentiated between 5 types:
The „world of apps bares risks and chances“ writes Friedrich Krotz (2014). According to this quote, some apps just don’t keep the promises they make in the description. A serious problem is the ubiquity of offers for consumption. In particular for small children they are hard to identify as such. Free apps often contain advertisements, even for products which are not directed at children. Another sneaking persuader is the in-app purchase. It allows to use additional functions or new levels inside oft the app.
Despite these problems, many apps offer useful perspectives: The joy they are giving is a strong plus factor – because play is an important part of childhood. And for all those who have difficulties with such (seemingly!) purposeless amusements: Many apps stimulate cognitive development and combine the joy of play with the acquisition of knowledge or skills. In addition there are a lot of apps which are designed thoroughly and thoughtful. Finally most apps are very cheap and easy to handle.
Many examples can be found at Johanna Rosenbergs website http://www.besonderekinderapps.de.
Orientation is also given by a database, developed by the Deutsches Jugendinstitut (DJI): http://www.dji.de/index.php?id=43348.
The whole article is published here:
Knauf, Helen (2015): Spielen mit der App. Digitale Spielkultur für Kinder, in: klein & groß 6, S. 18-21.
Krotz, F. (2014). Apps und die Mediatisierung der Wirklichkeit. Medien und Erziehung, (3), 10 – 16.