Joanne Palmer: Fantasy apps for parents
June 9, 2010
Steamboat Springs — Dr. Von Fleaburg and I have been tinkering in the garage again. At first, we thought we'd try to come up with a solution to the BP oil spill. We've been fascinated by their attempts to cap the well using giant shears, robots and super-cool submarines but saddened every time their efforts fail. However, after a few attempts to create and then super-size a waterproof, oil-sucking vacuum cleaner, we had to concede defeat.
While waiting for divine inspiration to strike, Dr. Von Fleaburg's cell phone rang. It was Mrs. Von Fleaburg calling. Her ring tone is the Beatles' "Love, Love Me Do." Those two! Even for us mad scientists, it never ceases to amaze and delight us just how many coolio applications these phones have. Thousands. Why, we were around in the day the first Swiss Army knives were introduced. We thought it was amazing a knife could hold a knife, a toothpick and a couple of tools. Little did we know that we'd live long enough to witness a phone you can point up at the sky and discover what constellations you are looking at. (Why didn't we invent Google Sky Map?)
An idea was born! Dr. Von Flea (only his best friends may address the esteemed doctor by such a nickname) and I got to daydreaming about what it would be like for parents to have applications they could download into their children. Why should phones get all the apps? The possibilities are endless. Here are just a few, and as always, Dr. Von Flea and I welcome your input.
■ ATM: Tired of your children always asking you for money? This app dispenses the cash for you. When the money is gone, it's time for chores.
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■ The Complimentor: "Gee, Mom, you look nice today." "I love you." "Mom, I worship the ground you walk on and the air your breathe." "Dad, thanks for my allowance and that wonderful advice about girls." Remember, these are fantasy apps.
■ The Eavesdropper: Finally, a chance to be a fly on the wall and find out what your kids are saying about school, their friends and, yes, even you.
■ The Nagger: Let the app do the nagging, not you. Let it say, "Clean your room; do your homework; walk the dog; wash your hands; take out the garbage; look both ways before you cross the street; time to get up; wear clean clothes; did you brush your teeth?"
■ The Homework Reminder: This app reminds him an assignment is due 48 hours in advance. This very important application prevents your child from announcing at 9:56 p.m., "I just remembered I have a report due tomorrow on lemurs."
■ The GPS: Never lose your child on the ski slopes, in the airport or at the mall. For an additional $10.99, this app comes with an optional "Truth or Consequences" feature that administers appropriate punishments should your child tell you he's having a sleepover at Sam's and heads for Susie's instead.
■ The Picker-Upper: An app that picks your child up from school and takes him to after-school activities, medical appointments or even home.
■ The Duplicator: Your son's championship lacrosse tournament is in Denver; your daughter's soccer tournament is in Grand Junction. No problem. This app allows you to duplicate yourself and actually be two places at once.
■ The Translator: Your kid will always think you are the coolest of parents. When he mentions Justin Bieber, "Never Say Never," you will automatically respond, "That video is waaaaaay cool."
■ The Communicator: Sullen teenager gives you only monosyllabic responses? No worries. This app has mind-reading capabilities and lets you know exactly what he means by, "Huh?"