Peekabond meets OK Play!
We have all seen a lot of development in virtual technology. Families, friends and loved ones found themselves separated from one another in response to Covid-19. A difficult time for many, as children grew up inside the safety of their homes with less interaction with Grandparents, loved ones and friends.
Suddenly, our existing video technologies were found sincerely lacking. The need for creative, inspirational applications became apparent. Keeping families connected in a playful way became a driving force for many innovative tech companies, including Peekabond and our friends at OK Play.
Educational, versus fun versus meaningful connection
These days, screen time gets a bad rap. It’s no wonder really, children can be exposed to apps all day long. Many students state they would rather learn from an app than in a real physical lesson. There are some huge benefits to consider here. Children learn in different ways and apps can provide individualised learning, which cannot be simulated in a traditional classroom. It’s important to understand your child as an individual and recognise what tools they might need. Educational apps face problems when children become distracted from their lessons and fail to remain on topic. Too many educational apps can disrupt the curriculum being taught at school, taking the focus away from the information children need to move forward with their learning, instead of sideways. However, both Peekabond and OK Play are committed to meaningful connections and interactions with children through technology.
This month, Anieke (our CEO) and Alyea (Chief Play Scientist) connected with the inspiring Dr. Colleen Russo Johnson (also Chief Scientist) at ‘OK Play’.
Here at Peekabond, we are very keen to learn about new, better or different ways to improve the connection between families at a distance. Creating relationships with other app developers, specifically apps for children, helps all of us in the marketplace push the needle forward in service and functionality.
What is OK Play?
OK Play is a digital platform where kids create their own stories and videos, and share them with a community of other awesome young creators.
OK Play has a unique way of connecting generations by creating content that invites the grown-ups into the experience. Kids can co-star in content with grandma, or send their new creation to a loved one.
What does Colleen do as Chief Scientist at OK Play?
Lots of roles add up to being the Chief Scientist of OK Play. Colleen reviews all scripts from a child development and educational perspective, curates the content that shows up in the app, and writes education related copy. Overseeing the content once it’s in the app is a large part of her role. Specifically in weekly play testing OK Play conducts. She explained how in addition to reporting on key findings and recommendations, her research team creates a playtesting video reel so the entire OK Play team can hear directly from their users.
Colleen also oversees user content moderation – a large team that approves and rejects user-submitted content based on safety guidelines. Her team also puts together regular “creator insights” reports based on the content kids submit into the app, to better understand what kids are interested in and how they’re using the app. After that, there’s social media, PR, podcasts, blog content, and award submissions to collaborate on with the OK Play team. She also conducts original research on topics important to the company (e.g. a recent collaborative project looking at how families talk about race and racism, resulting in an upcoming guide).
How does Community Factor in at OK Play?
Creating a direct line of communication with users is critical for OK Play. Colleen and her team build a rapport with the parents and children using the app. In this way, OK Play champions ‘super creators.’ Weekly spotlight videos also feature dozens of children’s submitted content which encourages positive activity in the community. Forming relationships with non-profit organizations and academic organizations is also hugely beneficial and supports ongoing collaborations, which are key to growth and development.
Who Is The Target User?
OK Play has become even more child-focused than parent-focused, meeting the momentum of COVID-19. Their core focus point is to spark creative skills in children, empowering children by teaching that self-expression is meaningful. Colleen says that they continually found that older school-aged kids were using the app, and they decided to lean into that, because kids in the 6-10 age bracket have limited options, and most are pure entertainment. Colleen sees OK Play as a unique and refreshing way to tap into children’s desire to creatively express themselves through art and storytelling.
It’s inevitable that children will start to have their own devices at earlier ages as time goes on. The average age a child is given a smartphone is now estimated at 10 years of age. Responsible screen time and kid-focused apps are more important than ever.
How Does OK Play Create Content?
Colleen says, “A combination of brilliant creatives, subject-matter experts, and most importantly — kids! We always start with a really great story, which is led by Craig Lewis and Travis Chen on our team, and we weave the lessons in naturally by collaborating at every stage starting at concept ideas.”
Then, by play testing every week. OK Play works directly with the content and creative teams which enables them to create challenging content that inspires creativity. OK Play keeps a close eye on app activity and moderates everything that comes in. Taking a keen interest in what the children are doing helps to develop their own content ideas.
What about fun?
OK Play believes in making it fun. As Colleen says, “If kids aren’t engaged and having fun, they won’t learn as much. Kids learn best when having fun.“
Onwards and upwards
We’ve learned a lot from OK Play. Sharing tips and exchanging ideas with other brilliant app developers is one of our favourite pastimes. We can’t wait to start implementing some of these key elements to Peekabond!
Anieke Lamers, our CEO created Peekabond at the onset of Covid-19. A mobile app to help global families bond with young children remotely. Inspiring families to create playful and engaging moments with young children.
Asynchronous video connection and inspirational science-based content suggestions. Allowing families and loved ones to share small moments and build better bonds. Every play experience is designed with care and approved by child development experts. Always age appropriate. Always private and secure, never showing ads. Our intention is to build a movement that connects families across borders and over generations.
You can download Peekabond here.