What Happens When Parents Make Apps

There is no doubt, technology has changed the way parents, well, parent.  I always joke about how I have no idea how my mother raised three children without an iPad. Truth be told, I'm glad I don't have to know. Technology is awesome. When used responsibly.

The top grossing iOS Apps for Children aren't traditional games like Candy Crush, but rather educational. Parents have stopped freaking out about screen time and started embracing it. There's a good reason for it too, studies show Educational apps benefit children in multiple ways, including fine and gross motor skill development, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills, early education shapes, colors and sound recognition, and the list goes on. 

Something else some of the top apps have in common is they are built by actual parents. Super smart, annoyed or fed up parents, that have the capability to make their life and child's easier by creating an app. I'm not just talking about educational apps either. Parents are evil geniuses and the next apps are proof.

 LaLa Lunchbox and LaLa BreakfastThis mom got sick of the lunchbox conundrum and created LaLa Lunchbox. In her own words: "These days I have three school lunchboxes to pack. Meal planning has never been more important or more time and money saving! Thanks to my app, I never have to face uneaten, smelly, unwanted, wasted food. My kids choose their foods in advance using our apps and while they love having a voice in their meals, I retain control over what's available for them to choose at all times." 

2. ReplyASAP: Nick Herbert got so annoyed his son ignored his text messages, he created the app, ReplyASAP, that takes over his son's phone screen until he replies to dear ol' dad's text.

3. Ignore No MoreGotta love the Mom who got so annoyed at her teen daughter for ignoring her calls, she created the app, Ignore No More. The description for the app says, "If your children ignore your repeated calls and text messages to reach them, you simply lock their phones until they call you back. With Ignore No More your child has only two options - he or she can call you back, or call for an emergency responder. No calls to friends, no text, no games, notta' until they call you back. When they do, you can unlock their phone if you choose to do so." How's that for telling your child, If you're not dying, you better answer my damn call!  (NOTE: This App is no longer being maintained. I do not recommend this app for download.)

GameBooksThe acclaimed software developer and first-time dad, Nicholas Nadirashvili, was dumbfounded by the fact NONE of his child's educational apps used the QWERTY keyboard, but rather a straight line of buttons in alphabetical order. A, b, c, d... So, he decided to make an app that would teach his son to type before kindergarten. And holyshit did he ever. Except, Nick, didn't stop at a Qwerty typing app.  not. Even. Close. His brainchild app, in addition to utilizing a QWERTY keyboard for lessons, the GameBooks app, teaches his son to read, trace letters, understand word structure and syllables, spell and so much more. This brilliant dad basically made books come to life in the cutest, funniest way possible. It's insane, every single part of the story or "GameBook" is interactive in the coolest way. 

Parents know exactly what their child needs, not some childless software developer trying to jump on the coattails of the zillion dollar family industry. I remember the cutest app I reviewed a few years ago, Dudley Comes Home, like GameBooks, it too was an interactive book app. My son loved it. 

Sadly, even though parents create the best apps, parents don't have the deep pockets the huge app creators have, so they can't advertise and eventually get edged out by the big dogs. Which sucks. 

Next time you are looking for an app, in any child/teen genre, consider giving a small mom and pop app a try. They will appreciate the download, and you might find a killer app for your child!

If you could make an App, what would you make?

NOTE: During the Month of September, GameBooks is offering a Back-to-school free 30-day premium membership, which gives full access to all books and interactive features. Download the Gamebooks App, Here. (Currently only available for iPad download). 

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com