Birds & Bees Connection: Girls Part 1 is a cute and educational app designed for moms to share with their pre-teen daughters about the upcoming changes girls will face during puberty.
Intuitive to use, this application opens up to a main menu page that lists such topics as getting taller, developing breasts, sweat and body odor, hair, acne, puberty and emotional changes.
This app is nicely narrated by a girl reading the questions, answered by an adult female narrator. I do love the voice of the woman answering the questions, warm and motherly, while offering straightforward advice for young people, reminiscent to me of how I imagine Judy Blume to sound like and I was impressed by her delivery.
This app includes very basic information for young children new to this kind of information, also including pop-up windows with other fun facts as well as questions for mom such as "Does mom remember her first bra?" By and large, I enjoy the content and agree with the information provided, including a mildly animated moment of a baby actively nursing - a moment I especially appreciate.
There are a few mild points that I wish were elaborated on such as how a popup window offers the advice of keeping a deodorant in one's backpack, but making sure one’s underarms are clean before applying. This may be difficult in public, and I don’t see the harm in a girl ducking into a bathroom stall to apply deodorant if she is feeling sweaty, even without first washing.
I do, however, really appreciate how this app re-enforces never sharing a razor with anyone, including friends or siblings. I also think it is good advice for girls to try to just shave their lower legs as many don’t need to shave above the knees, but this also varies from person to person. I do have my personal doubts that shaving upper legs will actually make the hair grow darker and more course as this app states, although the use of warm water and shaving slowly are good tips for girls to follow.
Likewise, I am not in full agreement with the section discussing acne, as this app focuses on dirt and grease trapped in the pores of your skin as a reason for acne, which may be true for some, but the issues of clogged pores and inflammation have other causes as well and are only briefly touched upon here.
I worry that this section will lead to over washing, especially a concern with the recommendation to use a washcloth and to vigorously scrub as shown in the animated illustrations of this section, complete with squeaking sound effects. I also doubt that a washcloth can rid the face of “germs and bacteria” as this app states any better than using one’s hands or cotton pads, and can also make things worse as washcloths can be a place for bacteria to breed.
It is worth noting that although hormones, puberty and the different emotions one may experience at this time are touched upon here, this app is mainly a good starting point about the changes girls will be going through. Likewise, this app does not offer specific information on periods, feminine hygiene products, any information on “where babies come from,” sexuality, pregnancy or diseases - topics that parents will still need to have with their children at a later date.
Although I do not know the content for the later installments of this app - part 2 and part 3, I will be curious to see which of these more advanced topics may also be covered.
Even if my advice to a daughter may be different from exactly what is offered within this app, I think this is an engaging way for mothers to start these kinds of conversations with their children, and I am happy to say that the illustrative style is fun and colorful, great for young tween girls whom this app is aimed at.
Oddly, this app mentions interactive illustrations which I am at a loss to discover, as this app plays pretty straightforwardly with arrows one can tap to turn pages, yet without any elements I could find that are truly interactive.
This is not a flaw as I do not think that this app needs any distractions to search for as girls and their moms share this time together. I do wish, however, that the iTunes description had less of a focus on interactivity as this promise may lead to disappointment.
Having made these notes, Birds & Bees Girls Part 1 is still an app that I recommend. I do hope parents will share this app with their children so they can add their own personal bits of wisdom as well, possibly opening the door for the more personal conversations to come.