Nagging Just Got Cooler with These New Apps

nudgeJust like your mom once prodded you to try out for the cheerleading squad, take up violin, or join the basketball team so, too, do new apps provide the same nagging– I mean nudging–effect.

Nudges are predicated on a paternalistic idea that small reminders  lead to positive behavioral choices and, therefore, greater long-term success. From a psychological standpoint, I can get behind that logic! The fact that these nudges are coming from a neutral third-party (ie: iPhone via app) and not mom and dad gives even greater credibility to the reasoning. However, I question: where are the consequences apps– you know, the ones that calmly explain that because you didn’t complete the nudge there is no dessert after dinner.

Okay, I’m being a little sassy here because we all know that technology is no replacement for good parenting and consequences are a good and necessary part of learning how to navigate the right behavioral choices. The fact of the matter is that as our daily lives become more and more interconnected via technology, having Siri nudge you in the right direction is more of reality than ever before. Parents have to be comfortable enough with technology as a check on the balance of power, making sure that technology is helping their child. That’s what Lori Getz of Cyber Education Consultants helps parents do: define the boundaries of technology by becoming comfortable with its benefits. Like anything else, we must define our boundaries to maintain success. The lesson: use technology to your advantage but make sure your kids know that in the end that mom and dad have the final nudge.

Check out these research articles, which delve deeper into the psychology behind nudges, analyzing why nudging works but doesn’t work alone: Nudge Nation: A New Way to Prod Students Into and Through College and Nudge is No Magic Fix. The potential consequences of behavioural interventions need to be weighed carefully based on an understanding of underlying behavioural processes

Nagging just got cooler with these new apps:

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Christine Terry, B.A., J.D., is the Founder & Owner of Terry Tutors, a Private Tutoring, Family Coaching, and Education Advocacy service dedicated to supporting the whole student. She writes this blog as an effort to help Moms & Dads Navigate Generation Z, Honestly. Want to Know More? Head on over to


“Living Out Loud”

We have a conflict: kids today don’t know what life was like without computers, cell phones, and gaming and parents today remember very dearly when an apple was only a piece of fruit. The fact remains that unless there is a world-wide power outage and we’re all forced to revert back to the pioneer days of living, churning our own butter and hand-washing our laundry down by the local creek, technology will only continue to make lighting-speed advancements. The tall tale truth: if you’re not on board the Technological Train, you will not have a say in shaping your child’s relationship with technology.

Technology is a hotly contested topic in millions of households because there is a real disconnect between the parent’s use for technology and the child’s use for technology. Let’s go back to this truism: kids today really don’t know what it was like to not have access to the world through the internet. I invite you to sit with that thought for a minute or two. Okay, got it? If we look at technology through the eyes of today’s child, we can understand a little more as to how cell phones, computers, gaming, and social networking are part of their daily existence. As Lori Getz of Cyber Education Consultants says, “They are ‘Living Out Loud'”.  (See Lori talk about this here) This intangible world, that we call The Internet, is part of their tangible daily lives.

Now, because I do remember what life was like before the internet, I find myself constantly questioning whether its benefits outweigh the negatives, especially when it comes to education. For example, grammar-check (an awesome tool for learning the correct mechanical rules of writing) is a go-to source when proofreading a paper. A student will say, “Why should I learn these writing rules when the computer can do it for me? What’s the point?” Here’s a chance for you, as the parent, to share how technology can help your child learn  the rules but that they ultimately must use their own intellect, skill, and discretion to follow  the rules, a message that translates to problems even outside the use of technology.

Technology opens up a new world of exploration. It is amazing that a touch of a button brings with it access to billions of thoughts, viewpoints, and beliefs. When we use technology correctly, we are positively engaged. As the parent, you have the power and the duty to control your child’s ability to engage and connect with the world. So jump on that Technological Train and use your inherent parental right to equip your child with the intellect, skill, and discretion to make the best choices online.

Take a look at Lori Getz, of Cyber Education Consultants, as she discusses how kids today are “Living Out Loud” and how-to bridge the gap between The Tech Savvy Generation and their Tech-Challenged parents.

(see minute 4:00 for the “Living Out loud” discussion )

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