Ed. note: This post from 2009 remains a perennial favorite for readers, but don’t forget to visit our extensive App of the Week archive for more suggestions on iOS and Android applications for teens.
An article in a local newspaper recently touted the launch of a new iPhone application (iCommunicate) designed to help parents of autistic or developmentally delayed children. It sounded like such a wonderful tool, and it made me wonder if there were any apps out there (other than games) that might be useful for teens. I decided to do a little research and see what I could find.
The App Podcast, which bills itself as the leading iPhone and iPod Touch app review site, has plenty of categories to choose from to help you in your search for the killer app. I was disappointed to find that they haven’t created a special niche dedicated to apps for teens. In fact, a keyword search of the site for the term “teen,” only yielded two hits: Teen Live Drive ($7.99) which helps teens prepare for the driving test, and Kipo ($0.99) which encourages good behavior in kids and teens with a point earning/rewards system. Is it me, or does the basic concept of Teen Live Drive just seem wrong in some way? Given the preponderance of warnings about the dangers of teens texting and driving, there’s something troubling to me about suggesting teens should use their phones to become better drivers.
iPhone and iPod Touch review site, 148Apps, was recently named one of the Top 100 Websites of 2009 by PC Magazine. The site provides up to date reviews and information on best selling apps and recent price drops. Reviews are organized by category. Again, none of the apps are tagged specifically for teens, rendering any type of targeted search futile.
While the mainstream review sites aren’t geared toward identifying the best of the apps for teens, check out this list of Ten Best and Worst iPhone Apps for Teens and Parents as decided by Radical Parenting. There are a few real finds on this site and a few apps bound to raise eyebrows with teens.
TextPlus is a free app that serves up free unlimited texting for iPhone and iPod Touch users. The app is free for the sender, though standard text messaging charges apply for the person receiving the text message. In the case of the iPod Touch, a number is assigned, which will show up on the other person’s phone. SAT Test Prep ($1.99) promises to increase those all important college entrance scores. And Sit or Squat fulfills a more basic need: directions to the nearest (and cleanest?) local restroom.
What do you think are the best or most popular iPhone apps for teens? What do teen patrons have to say? I took an informal poll of the teens at my library and here are the results:
- Tap Tap Revenge
- More Toast!
- Sally’s Salon
- Flight of the Hamsters