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DEVELOPMENT / APR ‘2018

Government apps instruct parents on how to raise their child

Would you raise your kids using parenting apps developed by the Government?

Words David Bova

There are virtually millions of apps that range from helping you lose weight, to helping you find the love of your life. Well, over the last few months, the Victorian State government believes that parents may need help raising their children, so they decided to release several apps on the market that claim to do just that.

While the government claims to help parents raise their children during those “crucial early years”, the issue at hand is that many parents may not appreciate “parenting instructions” from the government. Smartphones and digital devices are already an issue for many parents today, who have to closely monitor their children’s usage, as more and more children spend a large portion of their free time staring down at a digital screen.

Is it really a good idea for parents to raise their children with these digital devices at an incredibly early age?

 

The first app that was released is called Day by Day, and was created for parents with children under the age of three. This app provides parents with activities that are supposed to be fun for both parent and child. The main goal of the app is to help develop their cognitive skills; language being one area, for example.

One of the first activities you will be instructed to complete is to simply repeat the noises that your child is making. If your child is making a “da da” noise, for example, the app encourages you to record yourself repeating the phrase, and once you have, it will inform you that copying your child’s words or sounds will encourage them to talk more, thus helping their language skills develop.

The other app, MCH (Maternal and Child Health), states that the app can be used every day as a viable source of information on raising children. The app even contains a “virtual nurse” that answers questions, claiming to help parents who come across problems they haven’t faced in the past. It also provides instructions, such as, what to feed your child, and how to develop a sleeping routine, based on their age.

I asked Nora, the virtual nurse, what foods should I start my baby on? She told me from around six months of age, I should start introducing iron rich pureed foods to my child. The foods suggested were cereals, meats, legumes, fruits and vegetables.

At the end of the day, it is up to parents to decide whether they want to use an app to help raise their children. Some may consider the apps to be incredibly useful and beneficial, especially for new parents, while others may believe that it’s exposing the child to digital devices earlier than necessary, and they would rather receive parenting advice from friends and relatives rather than from the State Government.