Posted 09/26/2013 at 11:03 AM
Posted 4 years ago
Keeping in touch with family is easy over the internet; there is Skype, email, Facebook, Twitter, and a whole host of other social media and instant messaging services that allow us to stay in contact with loved ones. However, while all of these services are great for adults, there is not a lot going for them when it comes to keeping children entertained. A new app called Ustyme aims to change that.
Having struggled to keep the attention of her 2-year-old grandson on video calls even with puppet shows and story books, first-time grandmother Linda Salesky came up with Ustyme, a app that brings video calling together with gaming, social networking and e-reading.
Developed for second and third-generation iPads, Ustyme allows users to play games such as Checkers; Go Fish; 4 in a Row; and Paper, Rock, Scissors; or read classic children’s books like Old MacDonald and The Three Little Pigs to anyone on the other end of the line.
“As a grandmother, I have a vision and a passion for bringing families together,” Salesky told the Marin Independent Journal. “I believe time spent with families is invaluable. Technology can pull you apart when everyone is engaged in separate devices, or it can bring you together.”
And this was something she realized firsthand after trying to keep grandson Avery entertained during long distance video calls.
“What I realized with a grandson who lives over 600 miles away was that I wasn’t going to be able to share the same experiences that I shared with my daughter that were really important to me like reading books and playing games together,” she said.
With the app, Salesky says she wants to create an experience that her grandson will look forward to. Ustyme includes its very own content store where books and games can be purchased from $0.99 upwards, and content purchased by either party in a call can be used by both.
The app is not quite the finished article yet, but with $2 million in funding from angel investors, the future looks bright for video calling families and, particularly, kids.