Nester controls how your kids interact with your smartphone - currently available only on Android, the app limits the time your kids spend on your phone, limits the actual apps to which they have access and engages with them in a design environment appropriate for their age level, all while managing their time expectations. It's a super clever (and adorably cute) tool from Korean company Mindquake. And the entry app is FREE!
"I'm a mother of 3 year-old daughter and used to be a product manager at a studio making children's apps before. After I gave birth in 2012, I struggled with my little baby and realized we needed something for digital parenting. I was interested in self-regulation and self-control... so I made Nester." Sunhae tells us.
Nester comes out of Mindquake, "A startup started by one person, myself," says Sunhae, who goes on to say, "Now we have 6 members including Kevin, our CTO, Sena - our product manager who worked at Wisekids, a children's app studio, and majored in early childhood education, 2 more developers and 1 amazing designer."
We discovered Sunhae's product in the Korean display section of SxSW Interactive in Austin, and spoke with Niva, a representative of the company, who explained the app further.
Niva: When you're in Nester, you can go into parent mode on your smartphone and you can hand-pick what apps you want your child to have access to - this is any app that's on your device already. Then you click on the timer and decide how long you want them to be on the device, and when you activate child mode, it puts them in this little sandbox that they can't get out of no matter where they go.
Not Impossible Now: It's a pretty sandbox. This one's a snow theme - can kids choose what kind of background their sandbox is?
Niva: Mm-hmm (affirmative), it comes with a couple of them, yeah. There's a little bit of a snow one and there's one with a little tree in the background, it's more basic. Then, as time starts going by their "eggs," which are a visual representation of the time allotted, start to disappear. Nester the bird, which is the mascot, also starts getting more and more tired, and daylight starts turning into night and, so, after the timer runs out, instead of the game abruptly ending which really upsets kids and frustrates parents, what it does is Nester will come up and he'll say "I'm tired" and he needs to go to bed. It really helps kids wind down and know the game is ending. It gives them a little transition out of playtime.
NIN: Brilliant. How long has it been available?
Niva: It's in the Google Play store right now. It's free to download and use. It's not on the iOS yet.
NIN: When's the plan for it to be iOS accessible?
Niva: We're thinking June . There's been a lot of demand about that, especially here at South by Southwest.
NIN: What's the price to download it?
Niva: It's free.
NIN: And there are additive items within it that cost?
Niva: Yeah, more backgrounds, more ending games, stuff like that. If you want to add more, you can always purchase more.
NIN: Cool, and what's the site where people can find out more about it outside the app stores?
Niva: It's mindquake.co.
NIN: And what's the story about these little guys?
Niva: These little guys are our display models to help people come to our booth and it's working really well. [Laughs] They're just display.