Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Kids' Dental Health

Kids' Dental Health was created by Alexandr Stacanov and is an e-book that teaches kids about oral hygiene. Yes, there's an app for that! I have to admit that I was not a very good teeth brusher as a child, but luckily, no cavities to date! Would this book have encouraged my younger self (and probably current self) to brush and floss better? Price: $1.99

Device Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.

Developmental Appropriateness: The topic matter is of course relevant to young kids. Brushing teeth is probably part of their daily routine. This book explains why brushing and flossing is important and that you should go tot he dentist for routine checks. Although you can tell that there was effort to make the text more kid-friendly, it could've gone farther. While the graphics seem to aim for a young child, the text seems to be aimed for older. Also, the text is pretty much informational - it's not really a story that draws you in and makes you care about oral hygiene. It attempts to draw you in in two ways. First, you can choose a character that then becomes the character in the story. This is a good way to get kids to identify with the character in the story - unfortunately, nothing is really happening to the character in the story. So there's nothing to identify with, other than to learn the information the character is learning. Second, there is one game within the book (there are supposedly more games coming with the updates). In this game, you tap on bacteria until they go away. You earn points, but there's no real goal. Actually, when it was done and told me that I was great at brushing away all the germs, I still had a mouthful of germs plus some that I didn't get that became plaque. So, the feedback was not all that accurate and actually teaches you poorly about the consequences of not brushing well. You would also think that the way to kill the bacteria would be some kinda brushing motion or something related to brushing instead of tapping. Rating: 3/5 (aim for around 5 years).

Balance: The story is pretty simple. You can tap on some of the pictures and it will label it. Some of the areas are not so accurate though - like if I tapped on the child's body, it says toothbrush. And tapping on the pictures will interrupt the reading the text. But overall, the focus is clear - brush, floss, and go to the dentist. Rating 3.5/5

Sustainability: Since there's no real story, kids' aren't likely to repeatedly come back to this e-book. The one activity/game might be fun at first, but without a goal, is not too engaging. Rating: 3/5

Parental Involvement: Parents should read this along with their child so they can reinforce what's taught in the book to real life. It's also probably a book parents would pick for their child rather than a book a child would pick on their own. Rating: 3.5/5

Rating: 13 out of 20 = 3 stars

Disclosure - I received this app for free for review purposes.

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