MyStory is a tablet app that supports parents in fostering their children's emotional growth and critical thinking abilities. The app serves two user groups, parent and child, whose experiences consist of: 
The inspiration behind MyStory came from research on photography and journaling's ability to raise children’s self-esteem and confidence.

In 1975, two educators approached a group of fourth graders at the Murfressboro 
City Schools who had lower self-esteem scores than their peers, and over the course of five weeks they were assigned projects such as creating scrapbooks with their personally shot Polaroid photographs. Towards the end of the study, these children revealed a significant increase of 37 percent in the students’ average self-esteem behaviors as observed by their parents and teachers.
Studies further proved that photography enhances children’s communication skills and enables them to drive conversations through their photographs. With the support of imagery, children are better able to communicate their thoughts and feelings, and their ability to express themselves in turn boosts their self-esteem and confidence.
The initial idea for MyStory was to create a simple experience for parent and child where the parent would assign prompts that the app would provide suggestions for, and the child would fulfill them in the manner of photojournalism. Taking photographs and journaling would not only enhance children’s self-esteem but also their writing and communication skills, and ultimately help them find a sense of purpose in their daily activities.
To obtain a better understanding of child behavior and parents' priorities and wants, I approached and interviewed an educator specializing in K-12 curriculum development and five parents with children amongst age 2 to 15. Below are the major insights gathered from the interviews that built the foundation of MyStory's key features.
1. Content parents share with children is dependent on child's personality and individual circumstances. 
"My son is apprehensive and shy whereas my daughter can start up a conversation with anyone. So when I choose entertainment for them to consume, I think about what movies would help Ryland be less shy or what books would help Arlie be more considerate to others."
"My children are Korean adoptees so I try to expose them to more Korean culture. Many international adoptees start to have questions about their roots as they get older, and we want to lessen the confusion for them. I think what they learn now in their formative years will help them later as adults."
2. Parents want to fortify their children's weaknesses.
"I make my daughter take a cooking class outside of school. She's always been shy and timid, but she's going to a bigger school next year and that can cause a lot of anxiety for kids. I'm hoping that pushing her out of her comfort zone can help prepare her for that and improve her soft skills."
3. Children need both structure and flexibility.
"When assigning a project to kids, I notice that the majority of them struggle if it’s too open-ended. They need restrictions and instructions. At the same time, they appreciate flexibility and autonomy. If we give them a set of rules to follow, they feel they are in control by either following or breaking them.”
4. Reward systems are effective in motivating children to do things.
"Children need an incentive to do things that aren't immediately appealing to them. Although not the perfect solution, I use a reward system to incentivize my son to do chores around the house.
5. Children are easily influenced by each other.
"You often see at school how easily kids are influenced by one another. At a certain point, kids pay more attention to what their friends say than their adult counterparts. I take advantage of this and encourage open discussions in the classroom where everyone can speak up and participate.”
After gathering and analyzing user insights, MyStory decided to pivot from the initial hypothesis as it was necessary to redefine the app's key features.
In the creation of MyStory, I learned about some of challenges that go behind designing products for children. It is ultimately the parent or guardian who gives children permission to use a product, and with good reason, their standards on appropriate content are often very strict. While the web and digital technology can provide a great learning opportunity for them, there is always the issue of control and restrictions. How much of digital content can and should be filtered for children and what are the standards in deciding this? How much can be shared with a ten year old versus an eight year old? 
From user testing, I received questions on whether there could be ways for children to browse content on their own that aren't curated by their parents. I found from my personal experience with children that many of them start seeking more ownership and independence and speak up to adult figures at age twelve. What are some ways that MyStory can cater to children as they grow older and mature? How can the app secure this user group? Would they seek more ownership of the content they browse on the app and would they enjoy the reverse role of curating content for their parents? While giving them this freedom to browse content, would there be a way to restrict the range of content based on the child's age? 
Another feature that could be added is measuring the child user's growth. In addition to storing the children's journal entries, would there be a way for parents to measure their children's growth? Would this be qualitative or quantitative? If it were quantitative, what kinds of systems would be effective? 
Furthermore, I am curious to learn about other ways to get children excited about completing tasks other than a reward system. How can I utilize design to appeal to children on an emotional level to engage them in an activity? Can they genuinely get excited about something and change their mind about it? 
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