As someone with a history of mental health issues, I understand the importance of providing children with the tools they need to take care of their mental health and cope with life's challenges. Good mental health is crucial for kids to reach their full potential. Mental health technology for kids has become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to help young people manage their emotions, learn coping skills, and improve their overall mental health.
One of the major pros of mental health technology for kids is that it can provide access to support and resources that might not be available otherwise. For example, apps and websites can offer guided meditations, mindfulness exercises, and other techniques that can help kids manage their emotions and reduce stress. These tools can be especially helpful for children who live in rural or underserved areas, or who have difficulty accessing traditional mental health services.
Another advantage of mental health technology for kids is that it can be tailored to the individual needs of each child. Many apps and websites offer personalized recommendations and tracking tools that can help kids set and achieve specific goals related to their mental health. This can be especially helpful for kids who have unique needs or who may require more targeted support.
That's why I want to share some mental health tools specifically designed for children that can be very helpful in teaching young minds how to manage their emotions, deal with stress, and more. These tools range from mindfulness practices, browser extensions, apps, and interactive plush toys.
Here are 14 of the best mental health tech options for young children, kids, teens, and the whole family
14. Breath, Think, Do With Sesame ($0)
This free learning app from Sesame Street helps toddlers between the ages of two and five cope with complicated emotions and stressful situations through the "breathe, think, do" technique.
Available in Luna the Nighttime Sheep & Omni the Elephant. These plush toys guide children to count their breaths and feature calming music and a night light to help kids relax and fall asleep. Luna's breathing exercises promote better sleep habits by calming the nervous system and reducing anxiety for children ages 4-11.
12. Mindsight Breathing Buddha ($30)
This toy helps kids learn mindfulness and relaxation techniques through interactive games and activities, including breathing exercises and guided meditations. It also teaches kids how to manage their emotions and focus their attention.
11. Smart Tales ($4.99 per month or $49.99 per year)
This educational app offers interactive and animated stories that teach sociability & STEM subjects through narratives. It includes over 50 original stories, over 500 animated pages, and over 300 educational games designed by speech therapists and educators. Available for iPhones, iPads, & even Apple TV.
10. Mightier ($40 per month or $323 per year)
This app offers a library of over 25 award-winning games to help kids build emotional regulation skills. It also includes a heart sensor that connects with the app to help kids visualize their emotions during play, a parent app with insights and activities, live support from the Mightier Family Care Team, additional family games, and access to a private online community of Mightier families. Mightier says families see "62% fewer outbursts, 40% less oppositional behavior & 19% less stress".
9. Star Belly Dream Lites ($25)
These stuffed animals project colorful stars and shapes onto the ceiling to help kids relax and fall asleep. They also have a built-in night light and offer calming white noise options.
8. Safe Kids AI (Free Chrome Extension | Full product $19 monthly or $180 yearly)
Safe Kids AI calling themselves "the internet on training wheels" uses patented technology to intercept online threats, including those that bypass traditional countermeasures like firewalls.
Their Google Chrome extension is designed to help kids recognize inappropriate content in their emails and communicate safely online. It uses these instances to help kids "Pause, Reflect, and Redirect" to more appropriate content and authentic human connection.
It uses artificial intelligence to analyze emails for inappropriate language or content and provides a warning to kids if the content is not suitable. This can help kids learn to communicate responsibly and protect their online safety.
7. Stardew Valley ($4.99-$14.99)
This popular video game is known for its relaxing and stress-relieving gameplay, making it a great choice for those looking to reduce anxiety. It offers players a variety of activities to choose from, including farming, mining, fishing, and socializing with in-game characters.
There is no pressure to perform or achieve specific goals, giving players the freedom to engage with the game at their own pace. Whether you're a seasoned gamer or new to the world of video games, Stardew Valley is worth considering if you're looking for a relaxing and anxiety-reducing activity. Available on PS4, STEAM VR, Humble Store, XboxONE, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iTunes.
6. DreamyKid (Price: $4.99 per month or $39.99 per year)
This app offers a range of mindfulness and mental wellness techniques for children, blending soothing sounds and guided visuals to engage kids with stories and music. It includes everyday meditations, affirmations, guided journeys, and healing activities to cater to the needs of kids. While it is designed for teens and young toddlers, it can be used by anyone and has a user-friendly interface with guided sections and replenishing content.
5. SuperBetter (Free)
SuperBetter was created by Jane McGonigal, a game designer, educator, and my former professor at the Institute of the Future. It uses a framework that leverages the psychological benefits of gameplay to help individuals build resilience and succeed in real life.
The app and website offer free games that address anxiety and depression, which have been on the rise among 12 - 25 year-olds since 2012. SuperBetter can be used to achieve goals and overcome challenges such as anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and concussion recovery. The SuperBetter app and website are available for free to anyone worldwide.
It has been proven to be effective through clinical and randomized trials and allows players to become heroes as they go through real-life missions tied to their goals. The app also gives players powers to help them in quests and introduces villains and ordinary obstacles to the equation.
4. eQuoo ($4.99 per month or $39.99 per year)
This emotional health app is designed to help kids develop strong mental health through five core areas: personal growth, anti-depression, anti-anxiety, relationship skills, and resilience.
It uses games to improve kids' emotional, mental, and psychological wellness and helps them improve their communication and social interaction skills, self-control, and perseverance.
3. Together AI (Free)
This digital companion chatbot is designed to help kids and families connect and manage their mental health. Kids can use the chatbot to share their thoughts and feelings, while parents receive notifications about red-flag topics and are prompted to start a conversation with their child. The app also provides support materials for parents and a safe space for kids to talk about their emotions, helping to improve communication and strengthen family connections.
Available for Android
2. ROYBI Robot (Price: $99)
This friendly robot teaches languages (English, Spanish, Chinese, French) and introduces children to Math, Science, and Tech (STEM). It is academically tested to improve children's learning and has been shown to increase vocabulary knowledge, enhance communication skills, and encourage creative thinking and problem-solving. The robot uses its camera to initiate friendly conversations but does not listen to or record conversations. The camera can be turned off at any time for complete privacy. The robot is designed for boys and girls ages 3+ and is a great tool for improving speech and social skills with its vast library of original content developed by certified educators and experts.
A Purrble companion is a dynamic tool that uses responsive technology to show emotion through its heartbeat and simple language of sighs, giggles, and grunts. It has seven sensors that respond to touch, fidgeting, and movement, creating a lifelike experience.
Many parents have reported that the Purrble helps bring calm to the whole family, improving sleep and reducing moments of crisis. By holding and petting the Purrble companion, kids can slow their heartbeat into a gentle purr and learn to calm themselves in the process.
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Overall - mental health technology for kids can be a valuable resource for helping young people improve their mental health and well-being. However, it's important to carefully consider the pros and cons before introducing these tools to your child and to work with a mental health professional to ensure that your child is receiving the best possible care.