What makes a "healthy" Pinwheel app?

Pinwheel follows its therapist council's guidance on healthy apps. We view apps through three categories:

  1. Inherently Healthy – These are bland apps like calculators, clocks, digital wallets, guitar tuners, and family chores apps. It's hard to say a child would be sucked into these except when they're needed.
  2. Neutral– Apps like Spotify, Audible, messages, and the phone caller are neither healthy nor unhealthy—it depends on how you use them. These apps do not gain revenue by more eyeball time on screens in most case. Some, however, have premium subscriptions (e.g. Spotify, Pandora, Bark, and Ninjafocus) and mayserve ads when used in non-premium modes, just like your FM radio. Parents should use discretion, and we recommend teaching kids to pay for software they want/need with money instead of time.
  3. Inherently Unhealthy – Apps like YouTube Kids, Facebook, Instagram, and so on make money on the attention economy. When the only way to use the app has the child as the product instead of the customer we say no. Unfortunately, that describes most of the app store. :)

We're always adding more apps. See our guide on how to propose a healthy or neutral app that you need!

Feb 12, 2021