How to choose apps for kids

A photo shows three children sitting outside and using devices. Choosing the right apps can support wellbeing and balanced screen time.

During downtime and breaks from school, children often spend more time on their devices.

Help them balance screen time, find new interests and manage their wellbeing with tips on choosing apps for kids to explore.

Why is it important to help kids choose apps?

Most children who like to watch content use TikTok or YouTube while those who game often use Roblox or Fortnite. As such, they might fall into the habit of spending time online the same way as everyone else. Furthermore, this might make it hard for them to see other opportunities available online.

Helping your child try out new apps and games during their downtime gives them the opportunity to try new things. This could in turn open their eyes to new possibilities.

Here are some tips to help children develop new interests with their phones or tablets:

Expose kids to a range of types

The more games and apps your child experiences, the more likely they are to find ones they enjoy. This could lead to new interests, passions and skills that will support them in their future.

Use the same apps and games

Children and young people want their parents to show interest in their online activities. It’s a great way to bond with your child and helps you understand what your child gets out of it. Plus, it gives them more comfort to talk to you about it as they know you’ll understand.

Talk about the apps they use

Ask your child or teen what they like about the apps they use and games they play. What have they learnt? Who do they play with?

This will help you understand what your child gets out of their digital experience. Additionally, they will become more mindful of why they choose what they do.

Set app screen time limits

It’s important to set limits on how much time your child spends playing particular games and using particular apps. This helps them balance their screen time and limits passive scrolling or gaming.

Explore our range of parental controls guides to see how to set up screen time controls across devices.

How do I choose the right apps and games?

Children and young people need guidance from parents, carers and other trusted adults to help them choose new apps. It’s likely difficult for them to find what they want.

Here are some tips to choose new apps for your child or teen:

Consider their age and development

Some apps for kids are suitable for young children, while others are more appropriate for teens. It’s important to choose games that are age-appropriate for your child. This means thinking about both content and difficulty level.

Remember that age ratings relate to children’s development levels. However, you know your child and their abilities and needs best. Learn more about age ratings to make an informed judgement.

Think about your child’s interests

What are they passionate about? What do they enjoy learning? Choose apps and games that match your child’s interests to get them on board.

When looking for new, fun apps or games, make sure you get their input too. They’re more likely to explore apps and games they had a say in getting to stay busy during school holidays.

Look for educational apps for kids

There are many great educational games available. They can help children learn about a variety of subjects, including Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Explore our suggestions for apps for kids that build skills as a starting point.

Consider the social aspect

Some games and apps offer more social options than others. If communication and connection is important to your child, choose apps for kids with multiplayer or teamwork features. This then lets children play with friends or family members online.

For some children, especially those with Autism, ADHD or other needs, online communication is much easier than offline. So, choosing apps and games with this element provide them with a safe space to communicate.

Read reviews before buying

There are many websites and apps that offer parents reviews of games and apps. So, this is a great way to see what other parents think of an app or game before you buy it. Additionally, the Apple and Google Play stores show user reviews to help you choose the right apps for your kids.

If you don’t have the budget to buy new apps, remember there are a range of free apps too.

Explore the interactive guide to choosing apps

What are good apps for kids?

To help you choose the right apps for kids, we’ve created a series of app guides. Explore them below to find the ones your child will enjoy.

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