Apps can help children learn, encourage their creativity, and give them a lot of fun. But which apps are best suited and how can you recognize a good children’s app?
Apps that have been programmed explicitly for children are particularly suitable as an introduction to online worlds: As a small, self-contained program, they offer clear content. Navigation is by finger movement or voice input. In many apps, care is taken to cater to a child’s penchant for repetition. Ideally, you should test and play through the app before your child uses it. Be specific about the applications you install for your child. Pay attention to whether advertising and in-app purchases are included, among other things. You can use test reports as a guide, e.g. from Spieleratgeber NRW.
Be sure to establish rules about tablet or smartphone use early on. Toddlers and children of kindergarten age should spend as little time as possible in front of a screen, and if they do, it’s best to spend it together with you. This will let you know how your child is getting on with the app, and whether he or she understands and can process the content. And you can answer questions. The older your child gets, the more independently he or she will be able to use mobile devices.
Often apps offer settings options for parents to restrict the usage time and access to certain content. Use such features, especially if you can’t stay with it all the time. Already during the download, pay attention to which permissions the app requests and deactivate them if necessary.
An overview of recommended apps for children is difficult due to the rapid changes on the web. However, you can find help at the German Youth Institute (DJI), at klicktipps or at SIN – Studio im Netz, among others. If you want advice on whether an app is suitable for your child, look for it at app-geprüft.net.