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Apps as Parenting Aids – From Babies to Adolescents Karishma Sundaram | , 11:10 a.m. Nov. 16, 2009 2009-11-16

Growing up is always such a challenge; whether for the parents or for their offspring. Childhood is relatively simple, as most of the time is spent in learning foundation skills like reading, writing, walking, etc. But adolescence is a completely different ballgame altogether. It is essentially a tussle for control between parents and their teenagers for things like curfews, friends, ‘special’ friends, school, music, and many more things besides. There is definitely more than one parent who would love to cuff an electronic tag around their adolescent’s ankle so they can monitor their activities on a big screen. 

There are myriad apps in the market that are entirely focused on the parent-child dynamic. These range from ones with geo-tagging to others that keep little ones distracted during long trips in closed spaces. 

1. iCurfew – No explanations needed for this app; made for the iPhone, it is installed on a teenager’s iPhone and emails their coordinates to a worried parent when  curfew looms closer. Notorious for wanting to stay out later than their curfews, teenagers the world over have managed to circumvent the rule. iCurfew is meant to make it easier for a parent, but there is every possibility that the increasingly tech-savvy generation will find a way to wriggle out of this particular leash as well. 

 2. Baby GO! – Ever had to entertain a one-year old? This app may just give an exhausted parent a little breathing space. Geared towards children below 3 years, the app shuts down all the functions of a BlackBerry and has an animated jig of letters that takes up the whole screen. This is a great app to keep little ones distracted when on flight too, considering the phone functions are disconnected as the device enters flight mode. 

3. WebMD Mobile – (Note: There is no substitute for a good doctor, and in no way do we endorse this app as one.) WebMD Mobile is great supplementary tool for parents who have unexplained sick symptoms on their hands. Invariably, a child is affected with coughs, colds and random rashes that baffle parents. This app comes in handy, where they can look up a series of symptoms and based on the list of potential outcomes, be prepared for a visit to the doctor. 

4. Time-Out – This app strikes us as singularly useless, however we had to mention it for pure entertainment value. Any parent who has a dollar to waste can invest in the Time-Out iPhone app. It can store up to four names, with separate timers for each child. Parents can set the timers to beep whenever the time-outs are up. However, as iPhones don’t have multi-threading and the app does not work unless it is open, there is little practical use here. 

5. aSleep Kids Edition – This app is not revolutionary in concept, as electric lullaby aids have been in existence for a long while now. However it does manage to accomplish this task pretty well, with a number of tracks to choose from, a volume control, light control and a pretty interface to boot. The songs are melodious classics and the baby is invariably asleep in no time at all. 

As always, any parent-aids that we’ve missed, let us know in the comments. 

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