New Read-Aloud Story App Challenges Fears that Cell Phones Make Parents Less Connected to Child

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DUBLIN, Ohio - Jan. 16, 2018 - PRLog -- Developed in Columbus, Ohio, StorySnacker recently hit the App Store with a mission to squeeze more read-aloud storytime moments into families' busy, interrupted lives. To accomplish this, the app's creators are channeling the technology that's most guilty of causing the interruptions in the first place: the smartphone.

"Our phones are relentless distractors to family time," said Erik Slangerup, children's author and co-creator of the app. "But they're not going anywhere. So I wondered: if these devices can make us feel better connected to people miles away, why can't they do the same for those right next to us?"

Slangerup was inspired with the idea for StorySnacker after reading that Americans spend an average of 162 minutes on their phones daily—often at the expense of their children's attention. A father of five, the award-winning author of Dirt Boy and Monsterlicious set out to create a novel approach to storytime for busy, on-the-go parents like his wife and himself, who both juggle child-raising with demanding careers.

"Before things like job creep or multiscreening ever existed, parenting was already hard," Slangerup added. "Now it's even harder to carve out spare moments to read aloud to our kids. But so much depends on it—cognitive development, literacy skills, even the way we bond to one another. Quick access to a 60-second story gives us more chances to open that door and make the most of our free minutes, wherever they pop up."

"The day we downloaded the app, it immediately came in handy at the barbershop while my son and I waited our turn to get haircuts," said Todd Stinchcomb, a working father. "It actually turned the wait into something fun."

While studies continue to mount evidence that our mobile devices are hindering our parenting and rewiring our brains, many parents are finding StorySnacker to be a more constructive alternative to checking email or Facebook when they reach for their phones with their kids around. Most importantly, they're finding more opportunities to read to them.

"Now at random moments my son will say he has a great idea and suggest we 'do some story snackers,'" said Andrea Larsen, a work-from-home mother. "When they're only a minute, it's easy to say yes."

"Storytelling is what we humans do to connect generations," said Tracey Dils, Author of You Can Write Children's Books. "And like us, it keeps evolving. I think that's what makes something like StorySnacker so important right now. As we recognize all the benefits that come with storytelling—from inspiration, to appreciation for language, to our sense of connectedness—we're compelled to find more ways to make room for it."

As a concept, StorySnacker first drew interest in May 2015 when it engaged the public with a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. It promised a collection of "snackable" stories, each written to an exact count of 160 words—designed to take the average person 60 seconds to read aloud. Each story features a time-lapse illustration that builds in sync as users swipe through. More are added each month to keep up with a growing appetite to "snack."

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Page Updated Last on: Jan 16, 2018

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