It goes without saying that modern children get used to technology very quickly. They demand a gadget even before they’ve learned to speak, and they know how to use one too. Millions of parents around the world are puzzled by this situation. However, the technology is not evil in itself — it’s just a question of how you use it. Let’s find out how to limit screen time and turn a tablet into a great educational tool.
The perfect balance between playing and studying
Reading books is the basis of our education. It teaches us how to focus, how to extract and process information, it exercises our imagination and a number of other cognitive functions. Unfortunately, modern children aren’t particularly keen on reading. The flow of information surrounds them everywhere and entertaining content is easily accessible through a whole range of screens, which makes them quite addictive.
Like any other addiction, gadget addiction is a powerful thing, involving hormones and pleasure centers, making it very difficult to beat. Especially in children, who can’t yet rationalize their emotions and just want want want. Try to refuse them a tablet and they’ll just blow up, try to suggest a book instead and see what happens.
That’s why Nicola is such an interesting app to try. It leverages the attraction of gadgets and uses it to develop a sustainable reading habit in children. Set a daily reading goal for your kid and determine the time limit for playing games. All apps will be locked until the reading goal is achieved. The books will be associated with the desire to play and that’s how the habit of reading will be formed.
How it works
The core principle of Nicola is based on the mechanism of tracking eye movements. The camera of your device monitors eye movements and determines whether the child is reading or not. Kids don’t feel any pressure due to the friendly interface and cute characters within the app.
There is a system of motivating bonuses in the app. Medals, badges, and additional playtime are rewarded for attentive reading. Kids may choose one of the cute characters and help it grow by achieving reading goals. This will help your child to stay engaged.
Parents can also limit the amount of time dedicated to entertainment apps. For instance, gaming time may be limited to, say, half an hour between 7PM and 9PM.
You can track the child’s progress with the help of statistics. Choose book on your device or pick out one from the e-library.
Other features include statistics for monitoring child’s progress and a curated collection of children’s books on a variety of subjects. You may also upload your own book or read any other material outside the app. The functionality of the app will soon be updated with the ability of emotion recognition which will allow you to analyze what books your child enjoys most.
How to set up the application on iOS
1. Download Nicola Read2Play in the App store. It’s free. Open the app and select the child’s age.
2. Click on the lock in the upper right corner of the screen to get to the parental settings mode. Enable “track reading with camera” to allow Nicola detect reading activity. Turn on “parental control mode” to limit all apps on the device before your child reaches the daily goal. Apps with 4+ rating will be blocked and the default setting for them will be reset.
3. Set the daily reading goal. Progress will be displayed on the screen with the character.
4.You can add your own book (epub or pdf format only) or choose one from the library
5. That’s all! Launch Nicola and motivate your kid to read!
Setting up Nicola on Android
Find the app in Google Play and follow the instructions from this video.
Download Nicola and you’ll see that simple rules and the principle of “first read and then play” really work!