Researchers Develop ‘Tinder-style’ Food App for Kids

Kid Eating Watermelon

The Department of Child and Adolescent Psychology has developed a “Tinder-style” mobile app which aims to help parents “test their knowledge of their children’s food preferences.” In a great leap forward for the human race, parents will finally be freed from the downright medieval practice of discussing likes and dislikes with their kids.

DCAP developed the app with NYU Langone Health medical center. “When to Wonder: Picky Eating” (the app’s name) is the first of several planned digital tools for assisting parents in raising young children who are particular about the food they will and will not eat.

‘Broccoli? Swipe left’

Once downloaded, the app will show parents pictures of food. Like the famous dating app, parents will either “swipe right” or “swipe left” depending on whether they believe their child likes that particular food. The child then goes through the same test, and the two compare results.

Unlike with Tinder, though, the app aims to identify foods the child does not like, as much as foods he or she does like. It also provides a food-based game and other resources to help parents of picky-eating kids navigate what can be a tricky situation.

Dr. Big Data

Because nothing can be free from Big Data, however, “When to Wonder” is also more than just a tool for parents; it’s a study for scientists. Information that parents and children plug into the app will be anonymized, then sent to NYU Langone, where it will be used by child psychology researchers.

Like the old saying goes, the family that participates in scientific research together, stays together.

Hide the sauce

Undoubtedly, this app would have proved useful to a family mentioned in a recent New York Times article. The report relates the story of a girl who left college because “she didn’t like to eat food with sauce.”

The Times reports: “Her whole life, her parents had helped her avoid sauce, calling friends before going to their houses for dinner. At college, she didn’t know how to cope with the cafeteria options — covered in sauce.”

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