Smart Ways To Use the iPhone and Apps for Kids

How to use the iPhone when playing with kids? Of course, there are plenty of apps for kids. Let’s see how we can use them more creatively.

  • Use it as a bribe or a reward. Anyone who has ever been a parent can tell you that it is no easy feat to discipline or raise a child. Having said that, if your child is into the iPhone, you might as well use it to your advantage in every way possible. One of those ways is use it as a bribe or a reward. If there is a specific task that you need your child to accomplish and he refuses to, use the iPhone as a bribe. It can also be used as a reward in situations where you feel your child deserves recognition for her hard work.
  • Use it for educational purposes. Who says it isn’t possible to both have fun and learn all at the same time? With the iPhone, it most definitely is. Pick out games that are both entertaining and educational and sit down with your child and show him or her how much fun it can be. Your child will thank you in the future.
  • Use it to pass the time. Gone are the days when children would throw tantrums or complain incessantly due to long waiting times-whether in restaurants, dentist appointments, or what have you. Pull out the iPhone and let your kids enjoy it while waiting.
  • Use it as an opportunity to bond. These are the days when it isn’t very common for families to get together and bond. But the iPhone can change that for you and your kids. There are countless games on the app store that the whole family can participate in and play together. Remember that kids grow up so fast. So seize every opportunity to be with them while you still can.
  • Use it as a “lite” punishment. Believe it or not, the iPhone can be a useful tool for when your child has done something wrong. For instance, if your son has called his sister names or took her candy, you can punish him by taking away his iPhone privileges for a week or two. Psychologists say that limiting the pleasure is the most effective way to make the child realize his faults.

These are only some of the ways you can use the iPhone as a tool to educate your child and keep him or her engaged while you are getting much needed relaxation time. Feel free to give these tips your own personal spin or add your own twist to it to make the experience more enjoyable for your kids.

Games and Brand Extension – Do They Click?

For this article I wanted to look into the way that traditional games and gaming elements have been used to enter the mainstream space from a business standpoint to either incentivise consumers or engage them on a different level.

Games are primarily an entertainment medium, but that hasn’t stopped companies from having games developed to reach a different demographic than perhaps represents their core market. An ad campaign may run for 2 weeks, 4 weeks or 2 months but branding within a game can have a much longer shelf life. The most common example of brand extension within the gaming arena focuses on movie tie-ins. Many Disney/Pixar films release a game based on the film around the same date. It helps consumers engage with the film on a deeper level and get to know the characters and brand better making it ultimately more likely that additional purchases of merchandise or DVDs are made. The main issue with game tie-ins however is often they are rushed to coincide with the film release and most end up being fairly average titles. The sheer fact that the majority are aimed at a very young audience means though that children tend not to worry too much about this and just enjoy controlling the characters.

Looking at something completely different from an engagement aspect. Papa John’s pizza in the UK released a mobile gaming app which had you deal with pizza orders and create pizzas as perfectly and speedily as possible. App was priced at 69p with the hook being if you reached a certain score then you could earn a free pizza. It was a well made game and was quite a fun stand alone game as well as being challenging in the later levels. The only disappointing part was upon reaching your free pizza it was for collection only which limited me somewhat but was still a good prize.

Weight Watchers UK campaign last year focused on treating weight loss like a game thanks to the point system that was in use. It was an interesting take on things but it wasn’t continued for the 2013 marketing campaign. Arguably, despite the fresh take on losing weight, it didn’t engage the largely female audience of its membership base as even now, females are still in the minority when it comes to enjoying games. It perhaps didn’t resonate as strongly as it should have.

When there is a natural gaming tie-in that fits organically such as in Wreck-It-Ralph you get the best of both worlds – a good film and a very relevant game. You even have in-game advertising which can be seen in many of the Need For Speed series of games. Rockstar also create such believable worlds with their Grand Theft Auto series that there are teams dedicated to creating fictional brands within this universe – they actually extend their own brands within the games and also into the real world. Rusty Brown Ring Donuts is one that always springs to mind.

I’d be interested to hear any other examples you may have experienced perhaps in countries other than the UK.

The iPhone and App Store, Defining New Terms

The iPhone was such a phenomenal technological tidal wave that is was named by Time magazine as the “Invention of the Year” for 2007. Even now it is easy to see the impact the device has made with all the companies coming out with their own version. Has anyone seen the Android? People surprised to see one would most likely be made fun of. For that reason what will not be found here is a description.

As with all new ideas there comes the ever-growing world of terms associated with said innovation. One new word that came with the iPhone: App.

What are Apps? This is where the fun begins. With the iPhone come the phenomena known as “Apps”, short for ‘applications’. These are software programs custom-made by a third-party for both the iPhone as well as the iPod Touch. A lot of these software devices may be quite practical, anywhere from paying bills online or to find the definition for a certain word. Then there are the fun ones, like Starblaster that includes a phaser-like weapon and something that looks much like a tricorder, as in Star Trek.

There are also Apps for many kinds of games or Apps geared toward finding out the latest on a particular celebrity. Some of these are available for free. Others are a few cents on up to a few dollars. These Apps can be acquired online through the web on a computer or directly through an iPhone by way of Apple’s iTunes through their “App Store”, appropriately enough.

Obviously, the most fun Apps are the games. With a little looking around one can find some pretty addicting games for no cost at all, like FallDown! For those games with a price tag, there’s a game called Spore Creatures where the player can create their own denizens and watch them evolve from primordial ooze and inhabit the environment for a few bucks.

Apps have become so popular there are now Apps to find Apps, like Appfinder and Chomp. These Apps help the user through what appeals to them. A few come with reviews of the Apps available. Just like what was true about the old board games is equally true about game Apps. Some may be uninspiring or just plain boring along with the truly fun ones. Either way there is a whole new take on how to occupy oneself.