By Jackie Mader, The Hechinger Report, February 20, 2020
When Kayla Ramsey learned about Goal Mama, a new app from the Nurse-Family Partnership, a home visiting program, she jumped at the chance to try it out. Ramsey, who lives in Montgomery, Alabama, and has participated in the Nurse-Family Partnership since she became pregnant more than two years ago, quickly found this app was different from other parenting apps. Instead of solely highlighting developmental information relevant to her toddler, Goal Mama focused more on Ramsey, giving her a platform to set and track progress toward goals, chat with her visiting nurse, connect with other moms and research strategies to manage stress and anxiety. The app even had an inbox where Kathy Pounds, the nurse who regularly visited Ramsey and her daughter, could send her encouraging messages and check in.
“I call it a support booster,” Ramsey said. “Those little things actually help.”
Goal Mama is part of a new generation of parenting apps that are interactive, personalized and focused on educating caregivers rather than just focusing on developmental milestones. Several of these apps aim to connect parents to experts and provide support, especially with issues like career progress, breastfeeding and interacting with infants. A 2017 review of nearly 50 parenting education apps available on the Apple app store found this kind of tailored support is lacking: although many provided parenting information, none provided “a customized experience.”