By Sophie Marvell

Click here for a full view of “Waddle TV”:

The app design I have created is for an application aimed to create educational, and entertaining content for children at the ages of 0-6. The app is called “Waddle TV”. What inspired this app design was the need for advertisement-free and education/entertaining children’s content for mobile devices. Designing the app, I also considered research done by Reed and their co-researchers for their article Radical filter bubbles: Social media personalisation algorithms and extremist content (Reed et al., 2019). This study explores how algorithms recommend specific content depending on the type of content being shown and engaged with by the user (Reed et al., 2019). The authors used YouTube and Reddit as experimental areas of study creating profiles and exploring the content being shown to them regarding extremism They found that Youtube prioritizes extreme right-wing material after interaction with similar content.

This study was of particular interest for my media design because I wanted to ensure there was no way to have unsolicited content for a child user. There are many examples and reasons to be concerned about the authenticity and source of videos and content on apps such YouTube. This app, I hope, will be a safe space for children to enjoy media.

Platforms like TikTok, Youtube, and Instagram can be unpredictable, allowing for the possibility of harmful content. TikTok’s algorithms are problematic for a child, as the app uses the ‘for you page’ to show personalized content. YouTube, likewise, has many issues with its content such as piracy and the big number of advertisements shown for children viewing. Parents have to constantly monitor their children as they watch or attempt to have some sort of parental settings in place. Instagram also has been leaning more towards ‘Reels’ with algorithms personalizing the content for the users. The purpose of my app is to create a space where parents can fully trust that the content being shown is educational and entertaining for their children. While the app is not a replacement for interactive games and education at home, it is intended to be utilized while on the go or to spendtime with media that is safe for the child.

The design of the app was thoroughly considered and reflected upon. I wanted the app to be an engaging and safe place for children to learn. I began the process of designing the app by first naming ‘Waddle TV’ which signifies the period children stepping into the media world. The design of the application logo is fun and incorporates playful colours and icons such as the pencil and washi tape. Once users click the app, they are brought to a page where they can click ‘learn’ or ‘fun’ for the option to play educational clips or entertaining clips. There are also small purple icons that allow parents to create playlists of their favourite clips. After selecting a category, users are given the chance to select an age group, to have customizable content for each user depending on the age. An added feature of the app is that it contains a search bar for parents or users to select specific types of videos, such as ‘farm animals’ or ‘ABCs’. No harmful content can be searched in the search bar. Another feature is the filter bar, which parents can use to filter out content they do not wish their child to see. An example of this would be filtering out ‘Christmas’ content if the child/family does not celebrate Christmas.

To ensure the app is safe, app monitors are hired to screen media. Those designing the content will be educators or artists who cater to children’s education and entertainment and will be paid for their contribution. The screen monitors are human beings who have experience in education, childcare, or children’s media backgrounds to ensure the content is suitable for the app. The goal of the application will be to create a safe space that parents do not have to worry about while handing over the app to a child. A final addition to the application is that it will contain no pop-up ads or any type of advertisements. This is to ensure the safety of the application and that the child is exposed to nothing that has not been screened by multiple humans. The goal is to have the app as accessible as possible while ensuring quality content. For this reason, the app can be purchased at a low cost of $3.99 to account for the creators of the media and the screen monitors who contribute their time to ensure a safe app for children.