Can the K’Bro app help boys develop emotional resiliency?
Yes, says K’Bro founder Patrina Mack, a mother of a son who was inspired by her son’s school-inflicted emotional challenges. Importantly, she says, K’Bro is a boy-friendly, science-based support system that kids can use independently to cope with life’s challenges.
We’ve all heard the stats regarding childhood and teenage anxiety, depression, substance use and suicide. Anxiety, depression and suicide are up; substance use is down, somewhat, but still higher than we’d like. We parents want to help our sons avoid pain and trouble, if possible – and if that’s not possible, we want to support them as we navigate through the tough times.
But how can we help boys who won’t talk with us? Who spend most of their time in their rooms and answer our queries with a single word or a grunt? And, who can boys turn to for support when, developmentally, they’re turning away from their parents?
Recognizing these challenges, Mack used her expertise in product development to create app to help boys (and girls) manage their emotional health. The resulting K’Bro app is “an emotional resiliency app that is addictingly fun to play while developing skills to manage difficulties in a child’s life.” It’s “part game/part anonymous sharing/part knowledgebase” and it offers kids “a safe place to share… thoughts and emotions and get advice on how to deal with life’s challenges.”
Downloading an app might seem like a counterintuitive approach to emotional development. After all, most parents (and teachers) complain that kids today spent too much time online, and many argue that kids need more in-person interactions rather than additional screen time. But think about it: most boys are already comfortable online. They’d rather disclose and discuss their emotions with a machine than with a human. And, they love video games, so an app that gamifies emotional development makes a whole lot of sense.
Kids ages 14-16 were the most likely to download K’Bro when the app was advertised online, Patrina says. “If you think about it, it’s not that surprising the app appeals to this age group. Puberty has hit, they’re transitioning from middle school to high school — it’s a big period of upheaval, a point in time when kids are starting to think more and more for themselves as they separate and prepare for adulthood,” she says.
In this episode, Jen, Janet & Patrina discuss:
- How learning challenges and school struggles can lead to anxiety and depression
- Why therapy isn’t always the best choice to help boys navigate their emotions
- How K’Bro helps boys identify and process emotions and challenges
- Creating cultures of support
- How to get boys to use the K’Bro app
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:
YouROK – website all about K’Bro
New App Helps Boys Develop Emotional Resiliency — BuildingBoys blog post