“Social Detective” is a series of video assessments that highlights specific social situations for kids to understand. The app directly practices the tools introduced in Michelle Garcia Winner’s book, “You are a Social Detective.”
Kids are reminded to use their social tools to practice perspective taking, identify expected and unexpected behaviors in various locations and to make smart guesses about what might happen next. Videos are typically less than 30 seconds long and provide both positive and negative examples for each scenario, including walking in line, taking turns, eating in a crowded cafeteria and entering and leaving a classroom.
It’s especially beneficial for kids who may need extra practice with social pragmatic language, labeling emotions and identifying when a behavior matches a social situation.
What’s It About? “Social Detective” opens with a song reminding kids of the tools they can use to have social smarts. New users select an avatar, enter their names and listen to an explanation of each level. In Level 1, kids determine whether the behavior shown is expected or unexpected. In Level 2, they decide whether one character’s action makes the other character feel good or uncomfortable. Finally, in Level 3, users are asked to anticipate what might happen next.
Kids practice these skills using video recordings of actual kids in different social situations. Correct choices are met with a green highlighted answer and positive tone, while incorrect choices are explained verbally and kids can try again. Each section of the app has a narrator that speaks clearly and directly, eliminating any reading that may need to happen.
Is It Any Good? Though the look and feel is a bit outdated, this set of practice exercises is an incredible video resource for kids who may benefit from practicing social pragmatic language. Younger users may need consistent parent support while learning these behaviors, transferring these skills to real life by utilizing consistent vocabulary (expected versus unexpected behavior), and using social tools to assess situations (for example, looking with your whole body). The vast variety of scenarios offered as kids progress from video to video is astounding, and kids can practice picking out what expected behavior to look for when they’re in that situation next time.
Some might find the overall look and functionality to be a little old-school and it’s pretty pricey, but if you look past the imperfections, the inclusion of videos starring real kids (even if a bit cheesy at times) is much more powerful than tips and instruction without context.
Price: $17.99. Recommended for ages 6 and older. Available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad.