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Gamifying childrens' chores/routines through an app/hardware

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw Oct 06, 2021
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The idea is to develop an app or even hardware that can be used to motivate children to do their chores. I have 2 approaches in mind for this, I'll post the second as a contribution.

The first is simply to build an app that has a photo verification system, where the children (most kids have smartphones nowadays) need to take photos of themselves completing certain tasks. These photos can then either be verified by an AI recognition software or simply be checked manually through an app on the parents' phones.

There are also 3 possibilities for the reward system:
  1. Children simply collect points by completing tasks, these points can be used to buy privileges like game/tv time, snacks, or even "vouchers" that allow them to skip a certain chore or stay up later one evening or things like that.
  2. It could be connected to tasks in a real game. Where the kids either need to complete a task to get to the next level, or, similar to the previous idea, can build up points that can be used for in-game purchases.
  3. It could be connected to a virtual pet, like Tamagotchis, where the children need to complete tasks for the sake of their digital pet. For instance, if a child doesn't brush their teeth for two days, their pet will get toothache.

This approach has a couple of benefits. Firstly, children will learn the value of work, or, in the case of the third gamifying idea, the consequences of their actions (before they get the real physical consequences themselves). Secondly, as with anything that is gamified, it will appeal to their competitive instincts and children will try to outperform each other (basically trying to be the best behaved). Thirdly, with the proposed photo verification system, parents will get dozens of photos of their children.

One problem I have with this system is that it seems very vulnerable to hacking, you might not necessarily want your child to be uploading that many photos to any platform. It could be a safety risk for them, as well as being an opportunity for criminals to get a detailed description of your house and valuables. That said, if children are being allowed to upload to Tiktok and Facebook and Instagram already, it wouldn't make much of a difference.

I did some research on similar apps, but I could only find ones like Earn It and Cozi which are pretty much just task manager apps.
Chore monster also works on a reward system, but it also seems to simply list tasks and completed tasks. There is no verification system.
Math for Money seemed interesting, but it turns out it's pretty much just a financial management app for children.
Creative contributions


Spook Louw
Spook Louw Oct 06, 2021
The second way I can think of one could approach this idea might be more complex, but would also be more complete. It would involve creating special hardware that is connected to a game or digital pet.

Whilst doing research for another variation of this idea, I found Quip smart toothbrushes that track your brushing habits. This led me to imagine an entire set of hardware connected to both childrens' chores/routines and a game or digital pet.

It could include a toothbrush that needs to be used for a certain amount of time, a bedroom light that needs to be off before a certain time of the night, a submersible bath toy that needs to be underwater for a certain amount of time every day.

Building hardware for every activity is still quite limiting though, so another element that could be added could come in the form of a smartwatch with GPS capabilities. This would be able to track their sleep and health, while also rewarding them for playing outside or getting their heartrate up.

This would be much more complex than a photo verification system, but it would be more interactive.
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General comments

Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni3 years ago
Good idea, Spook Louw! "If a child doesn't brush their teeth for two days, their pet will get a toothache." - This is a good idea to inoculate the feeling that your acts affect others, too, also in a bad way. It will help them be better citizens.

A problem I see is parents mingling in the gamification. Just to see their kids prosper in the game, they might approve the chores even if the kid has not performed any. Such success is of no use to the kid. To avoid this, cross-verification could be implemented. The kids could perform similar chores at their neighbors and the neighbors could approve/ disapprove (maybe comment on the quality of) the work. For example, like the session image, if a kid can rake a lawn, they might help their aged neighbors out. The neighbors could then vouch for the kids. An upvote from someone who is not your parent could lead to bonus achievements in the game. What do you think?
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw3 years ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni That's a good idea. Sharing your "achievements" with people other than your family could also be quite motivating, as you'd want them to see how well you're doing. We must just be careful not to cross the line and make it too competitive, to the point where parents are staging chores to impress their friends and acting as if their kids did it. "Look, yesterday my 5-year-old painted the house and built us a sauna."
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni3 years ago
Spook Louw ๐Ÿ˜‚ very true! My intention is involving others only for verification purposes.
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