Attention all parents who are tired of arguing with their kids about whether or not educational games are fun. If you’ve found that the âˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â‰ˆÃ¬bribeâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨Â¬Ã¹ system works great with your kid, then SmartyCard is for you.
It works like this: parents set up an account for their kids, add whatever information they think the system needs to know (age group, learning level, what subjects to emphasize, etc.). Then they fund the account with moneyâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ„Ã¹basically, $1 equals .50 in refundable points. They Then then turn their kids loose on this child-friendly site.
The children play games that are offered up and earn points as they succeed. These points can be redeemed for prizes like iPods, iTunes credits, and memberships at Club Penguin. Basically, ten bucks gets 5,000 points to reward to your kids and those 5,000 points will buy about $5 worth of merchandise or prizes.
Some parents are lauding the site as the greatest learning tool since Speak n Spell. I don’t take this view. For what it’s worth, it seems to me that sites like this are nothing more than new versions of the old âˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â‰ˆÃ¬boob tubeâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨Â¬Ã¹ scenario where children are put on automated entertainment so parents don’t have to deal with them.
I might be sounding old here, but in my day, my parents actually sat at the kitchen table and talked with us while we ate dinner. My dad actually gave us chores to do and my mom actually read homework with us. There was actual interaction in my childhood. Today, it seems, kids are pushed off onto the latest techno-toy to keep them occupied while parents do their own thing.
But I can see where things like this are getting popular and might have some merit. At least the kids aren’t sneaking into their rooms to play GTA behind their parent’s backs, I guess. Could be worse.
SmartyCard is a kid-friendly and based in San Mateo, California. It launched earlier this year and its founders include charter Revolution Ventures member Robert Hutter and Bhavin Shah of Leapfrog Enterprises.
A free version of SmartyCard is available that does not fund merchandise rewards, but lets kids play the games anyway.