The Washington Post

Too many parenting apps, too little time

IPhone applications can be wonderful tools for parenting. They can help with safety, bargain-hunting, organizing and finding activities. Some of the best are even free:

The playground advocates at Kaboom have created an ingenious app to help parents find playgrounds wherever they happen to be. The FBI just unveiled a new app to help parents in case their child gets lost or goes missing. There are countless other that can make the day a bit less stressful and more fun. A good list was compiled by USA Today this year.

Ripe Apps is trying to dub Tymoot the "ultimate mobile discipline tool." (Courtesy of Ripe Apps)

Its makers at the Toronto-based Ripe Apps are trying to dub Tymoot the “ultimate mobile discipline tool.” A spokesman told me that the designer is a father of three who needed help timing his children’s concurrent timeouts.

Tymoot asks parents to store a child’s birth date and then computes the appropriate duration for a timeout. That might be useful if the rule of thumb on timeouts wasn’t already simple: They should last as many minutes as the child’s age. A 2-year-old gets 2 minutes, a 3-year-old 3 minutes. Not even the most mathematically challenged need help with this one.

It also features the medieval-sounding “Wheel of Punishment” and a forum for parents to share their disciplining ideas. Some of the amateur advice offered seems questionable, such as making a child watch a sibling get preferential treatment or forcing a boy to wear girl’s clothing against his will.

Tymoot is like too many apps. They exploit our vulnerabilities. We desperately need help with time management and along come these applications promising to save us time and make our chaotic lives run more smoothly. All they really do is add to our to-do-list.

As parents, our time and attention are already in high demand. There’s no reason to throw them away on unnecessary distractions.

Are you overwhelmed by apps too? Any other nominees for the most useless apps?


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Is fencing the answer to brain health?
Miss Manners: The technology's changed, but the rules are the same
Behind a famous and fast steam locomotive
Play Videos
This man's job is binge-watching for Netflix
How to survive a shark attack
What you need to know about trans fats
Play Videos
Michael Bolton's cinematic serenade to Detroit
How to avoid harmful chemicals in school supplies
Riding the X2 with D.C.'s most famous rapper
Play Videos
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
How to get organized for back to school
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom