When it comes to being a parent, it is important to ensure that you know everything there is to know about the apps and technology your children are interested in using. This will help you to ensure that the apps are suitable, safe, and age appropriate for your child.
From looking at the app stores on smart devices, there is a wide abundance of different apps to choose from. Many of these apps are aimed at children, and are a fun way to keep them occupied for an hour or two.
While some apps are designed to be educational, others are designed to be fun. When looking at Words With Friends in particular, it is a mixture of the two. It is not specifically designed to be educational, but it will certainly help your child to develop their spelling skills.
In this article, we will be providing you with a complete rundown and review of Words With Friends. We will be focusing on aspects such as the cost, what it is, its educational purposes, and whether or not it is an app we would recommend downloading for children.
Overview of Words With Friends
Words With Friends is an app that focuses on creating words. If you have ever played the board game Scrabble, the main aspects are very similar.
Like Scrabble, the aim of the game is to gain as many points as possible. These points are created by the different words that are created and placed on to the board.
Each letter has a different numerical value. The letters that are the most common, such as the vowels, and letters such as L, S or R, all have a lower value, which will be 1 or 2.
Letters that are less popular, making them more difficult to use have a higher numerical value. For example, P is worth 4 points, and Q is worth a whopping 10 points.
Each player is given a selection of letters, which they then need to create words out of. The first player has free reign of the word they place on the board. This needs to be placed on the middle star but can be placed horizontally or vertically.
The first player received double points for their word. The numerical value of the letters are added up to create the score. Once the turn has ended, the player is then given the same amount of letters they placed down on the board.
The next player will then need to use one letter from the previous word to create their word. They can choose any letter, and the word placed down will need to be connected horizontally or vertically to the previous word.
Letters can be added to previous words to make them plural, too. For example, if an S is added to the end of the word along with another word, this will increase the overall score.
If a player uses all of their letters in one go at any point of the game, they are awarded with an extra 50 points. In addition to this, if any of the special tiles on the board are incorporated, the player will receive the bonus, such as double points for the letter or word. There are also blank tiles which can be used as any letter.
The game continues until one person runs out of letters, or no one is able to place any more letters on the board. The winner is the person with the most points at the end.
The app is free to download, which is great. If you download the Android version it features no adverts, whereas there are adverts on the IOS version. There is the option to purchase an ad-free version of the app too, but this is not completely necessary.
Is It Educational?
While Words With Friends is not necessarily intended to be educational, it is. What is great about the game is that it encourages children to come up with words they can add to the board. It tests their spelling skills, and also helps them to expand their vocabulary.
It has been used in classrooms, and some teachers think that is a great app for educational purposes. When the app was created, it was tested in schools, and with around 1,500 students.
What Skills Does It Utilize?
As we have already touched upon, Words With Friends very much utilizes spelling skills. It encourages children to improve their vocabulary. As they are playing against people across the world, they will be able to learn other words from different players.
In addition to this, it also encourages problem-solving and thinking skills because the child will need to figure out what the best words are to choose, and they need to use the previous word too.
Math skills are also used because the child will need to count their score to see how much the word is worth. They need the highest score possible, so will need to create a word to reflect this.
While Words With Friends is a great app for children to use for educational purposes, the overall safety is a concern, and certainly something that needs to be improved.
When the child uses this app, it will connect to a random person across the globe who is also playing the app. Unless you connect to players specifically using email addresses or Social Media, there is no real control over who your child plays against.
While there are no safety issues with this, the safety issues lie within the open chat aspect of the game. The chat is between both players, and it is unfiltered. This does leave children vulnerable to receiving potentially inappropriate messages.
This is something that parents need to be very aware of, and we would always recommend monitoring the game very closely if your child is using the app.
In general, this app is not really recommended for younger children to use. We would recommend its use for older teenagers. However, if you are monitoring the game, then it can be used.
Is It Suitable For Children?
Due to the safety concerns we have expressed, we would not recommend that this app is used by younger children. It is better suited to older teenagers.
However, if you are closely monitoring the game, it can be used by children. We would not recommend that children play this game unaccompanied due to the chat aspect of it.
While the chat aspect may never be used, there is no way to turn this off, which is problematic. However, when looking at the concept of the game itself, it is not unsuitable, and the game is a great way of developing a child’s skills.
Ease Of Use
On the whole, the app is fairly easy to use. It connects to the internet quickly, and there are no issues when downloading it. The app is responsive, and it does not tend to freeze or be filled with bugs.
Everything is clear to see, and it is not overly difficult. The game itself is as difficult as you make it. While it can be difficult to choose words towards the end of the game when you have less letters, it is fairly easy to begin with.
It is easy to connect to other players, and you can choose to use your contacts list and usernames to connect your children to the people they know, which is a far safer way to use the app.
What We Liked?
We like that this app is educational and encourages children to come up with new words. It uses problem-solving skills, and it is a great way for them to exp0and their vocabulary.
It is easy to download and use, and it is accessible. Words With Friends is a fairly straightforward app to use, and it is not overly complicated. Furthermore, it also encourages children to use basic math skills, too. They can connect with friends and family to play against them, which is great.
What Could Be Improved?
The safety aspect of this app could definitely be improved. There is no real need for there to be a chat section, and this makes the game potentially unsafe, if a child is left unmonitored. We think that there should be a safety feature that disables this chat to make the app safer on the whole.
To conclude, this is a great app when it comes to encouraging children to problem-solve and expand their vocabulary. However, there are safety concerns that parents need to be aware of. This app is better suited for older teenagers.
If a younger teen or child is using the app, we would recommend closely monitoring it and only letting them play against people they know.
It is great that this app is educational without this being its sole purpose. It is enjoyable and challenging for children to play, without it feeling as though they are learning and developing their skills.