Quick, ask your kids! What is the capital of Turkey? Which month is named after a two-faced Roman god? Was Mark Twain the author’s real name or a pseudonym? If your kids knew the answers to any of these questions, please email me the names of your school and teachers, so I can get my kids transferred ASAP. If your kids didn’t know and if you aren’t willing to change school districts, let me tell you about my latest discovery, QuizUp.
QuizUp is social trivia game app that lets players test their knowledge in over 450 topics ranging from literature and history to sports and television. Players can play real-time against other players from around the world, or they can challenge a friend to play the same game at separate times.
Now bear in mind, this is a trivia game originally created for adults, or in the case of sports and entertainment categories, diehard fans. The questions can be difficult. And the points are time-based, meaning you can drop points on the easy questions if you don’t answer quickly enough. This makes it tough on kids, especially in topics they think they should rock, like the American Civil War that they just learned about in class or their favorite show SpongeBob SquarePants.
But studies show that gamification tactics work on kids, and adults for that matter. And for kids, game cred trumps school grades any day. After a couple rounds of American Civil War, trust me, both my 5th grader and I will never forget that Union General John Buford was not killed at Gettysburg.
That said, you may be best off initially steering your kids to more kid-friendly topics like Math, Spelling, Children’s Literature and Geography. Or if your kids are up for practicing quick reflexes, building resilience, and displaying grace in defeat, have them try SpongeBob SquarePants – because that topic moves fast.
Quick Tips and Warnings
- Online safety – This is a social trivia app originally intended for adults, which means there are ways to socialize with strangers on the platform (Messages and Discussions) that cannot be turned off. Be sure to talk to your kids about safe Internet practices, such as using a nickname instead of their real name and not participating in discussions with strangers.
- In-app purchases – There are in-app purchases for “XP Boosters” to help players gain points faster. It’s neatly tucked away in the Store section of the app, but we all know how kids like to click around and explore. So make sure you have either disabled in-app purchases on your kids’ devices or have a refresher conversation with them about not making any purchases without your permission.
- Friends – Add your kids’ real life friends and family to their QuizUp Friends list so they’ll be more inclined to challenge them to games, rather than play complete strangers. It also lets them compare their rankings in a smaller, similarly skilled pool on the Friends leaderboards, which can be another powerful motivator.