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Youth-led app seeks to enhance interaction between parents, children

Four Amman youth have launched the first app in the Middle East that provides tips and pointers to help parents better interact with their children. 
 
The idea started in 2017 when Qusai Abushanap, Abdullah Abu Mahfouth, Elaf Al Araj and Hanaa Faqir were working on developing education solutions, taking on small projects with different clients as freelance gigs, Abushanap and Abu Mahfouth told The Jordan Times on Tuesday over the phone. 
 
After noticing that a majority of their work focused on children and their interactions outside the home and that Arabic parenting content was “scarce” online, they created the "Sadeq" App, they said. 
 
“Parents feel like they cannot do anything with their children; they feed them, let them watch TV or YouTube, and perhaps help them with their studies,” Abu Mahfouth said, noting that this is “not enough”, especially because children between the ages of one and five are in the most crucial years for growth and development.
 
"In the freelance gigs, parents often asked what they could do with their children, and the answer would always be something that directs them to a certain centre or programme, but rarely advice to interact at home," Abushanap said.
 
"We compiled a list of common words parents use to learn about how to interact with their children, and through the Google Trend tool, we found out that parents conduct 100,000 searches every month on topics related to how to deal with their own children," he noted.
 
The application, which has won several awards according to its Facebook page, is available on iOS and Android. 
 
It allows parents to create an account and insert their child's age in order to see Arabic parenting content within the three main services provided.
 
The first service is the "activities" tab, which suggests certain activities that parents and children can do together at home in order to improve both physical and mental growth, Abu Mahfouth said, noting that the app encourages children to discover and experience things first-hand instead of watching everything online. 
 
"The activities are developed by experts and help children learn in an organised environment at home," he added.
 
The "books" tab suggests certain short stories that parents and children can read together, which they can purchase online through suggested websites. 
 
The third tab, "dialogues", suggests topics to discuss with children depending on their ages, especially when they are older than three years of age, according to the creators.
 
"These are the main three services the application provides now, but in the next five years we also expect to help parents organise their children's sleeping schedules, meals, hangouts and much more," Abushanap said. 
 
He added that there are plans to integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the application to receive feedback from parents in order to continuously develop content. 
 
Overall, the app allows parents to easily find “expert-written” content that helps them maximise their children’s growth. 
 
Sadeq is currently registered as a social enterprise, and its operations focus heavily on social assistance in addition to profit, according to the creators, who added that Abushanap works as the managing partner, Abu Mahfouth as the operations officer, Al Araj in business development and Faqir as the content officer. 
 
Jordan Times 
8 October 2019