‘PlayTimer’ app launches on International Day of Families 

VIDEO: See what happened when 68 children invaded an office by surprise, to highlight how children don't interrupt your work - so why do you interrupt their playtime? youtu.be/wFnBJgE3gac

A new phone app developed by UNICEF, the world’s leading children’s charity, encourages busy parents to put down their phones and instead spend quality time with their children.

Using the app, named PlayTimer, parents can set the amount of time they want to play with their child. Then, if the phone is used during that period, an alarm goes off. The only way to deactivate the alarm is by verifying that you are indeed spending time with your child, by using face recognition software to prove you are with your child.

UNICEF’s PlayTimer enables parents to manage their leisure time without interruptions from work. This is needed more than ever considering research shows parents bring their work home with them via their smart phones. According to Ofcom, 70% of smart phone users take part in work calls outside of working hours, with almost a quarter (24%) doing so regularly.

The app was developed by UNICEF Sweden under the initiative ‘The Children’s Rights and Business Principles’, which say it is the employer’s duty to provide decent working conditions for parents and caregivers.

“We know that children do not always get enough time with their parents, often because their parents are bringing their work home with them. But just as we wouldn’t expect children to interrupt us at work, we shouldn’t let our work interrupt playtime, and this is especially relevant today on International Day of Families,” says Anita Tiessen, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF UK.

“That’s why UNICEF has launched the PlayTimer app, an innovative way to ensure we are spending adequate quality time with our children, rather than constantly being glued to our phones.”

Children can also play a role by becoming in control of the mobile while the parent and child are spending time together. The child gets to work-proof their parent’s mobile phone in a playful way, with the bright blue app featuring a face whose smile increases as more time is programmed into the app to create a longer play time (see pictures).



Notes for Editors:


For more information and to see a video on what happened when 68 children invaded an office by surprise: youtu.be/wFnBJgE3gac

The app is free and available on the app store for iPhone via: https://itunes.apple.com/se/app/playtimer/id872675762?mt=8

See what happened when UNICEF UK's Kat Crisp tried the app out at home: http://blogs.unicef.org.uk/2014/05/15/playtimer-childrens-app-play/

For hi-res images and further information, please contact:

Alice Klein, UNICEF UK, + 44 (0)20 7375 6082 Alicek@unicef.org.uk 

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. UNICEF UK raises funds for UNICEF’s emergency and development work and advocates for lasting change for children everywhere. We are a UK registered charity, supported entirely by voluntary donations. We do not receive any money from the UN. For more information, please visit unicef.org.uk