In an age where we want our children to detoxify and scroll through meaningful content if at all, the Children for Environment (CFE) mobile app developed by Pune-based Debashish Dutta, (a professional with years of corporate experience and passion for wildlife photography) and Aarti Kore (specialist in web technologies) is bound to be the solution for anxious caregivers on what their children are absorbing digitally. The vision behind CFE is to sensitise children about the beauty and importance of the environment and denizens as part of the ecosystem so that the awareness can help in creating an army of individuals who will speak up for the protection of the same.
A fairly easy-to-use app available on both the google play store and the apple app store, the app first requires you to fill in details of the parent, email id and password (best to develop a new password with special characters and save the password somewhere). Post filling and confirmation of the details, the app takes you to a beautifully illustrated home page with categories of topics ranging from insects to rivers and oceans. From herbivores to snakes. From ecosystems to the climate crisis.
18 such topics are listed on the home page, on opening each, a set of questions are listed about the species or topics accompanied by a photograph or illustration of the species or topic in question which will be very enjoyable to children. The questions and information given about each category are about species found both in India and globally collected and collated over years of research, which will pique the interest of the child and parent both and encourage them to find out more about the diverse categories mentioned.
A unique feature of the app is a section called Fast Facts that provides truly intriguing information about various elements of nature. Such facts can only be unravelled by years of research.
The app has been put together in an organised manner and the FAQ section answers any queries you may have about the functioning of the app. The profile button helps identify the phone number and city of the user visible only to them and is a confirmation of the information provided on the app. The feed button takes you to any new information updated on the app, while the favourites section is for storing any category information which is of particular interest to the child or parent. Although the app is user-friendly, in case of a technical issue, the subscriber can click on the report tech issue button which will directly take you to an email outbox where the tech support mail id is already filled in. This enables a smooth process with a response to your query sent directly to your mail id in a timely manner.
Speaking of subscribers, in a time when we all worry about the cost-effectiveness of products, CFE is a dream product with a half-yearly subscription at a mere Rs. 1500, while the annual subscription is Rs. 3000. Definitely worth the price and content I would say especially when such a vast repertoire of information is available in such a portable and easily usable fashion. For me personally what was impressive was the amount of work and passion that has gone into the idea and need of developing such an app in the first place.
On asking Debashish, his logic behind the hard work is simple. “I wanted to generate curiosity in nature amongst children and I wanted to make sure, like any other issue or topic, nature should also form an important part of conversations while families are sitting together.” “Without curiosity, we cannot hope to create awareness and without awareness, we cannot hope to protect our planet.” With awareness and curiosity being at the core of CFE I begin to understand that it is to achieve this wide-scale awareness that, what was once started as a simple Facebook page (wherein Debashish and his team used to upload content free of cost for children) the content structure has been developed into a full-fledged app, the credit of which should also be given to parents and caregivers who requested for the app to be developed at a bigger scale.
“A very timely and pertinent digital intervention for making children and parents more in sync with the mechanisms of the planet – an aspect that has been unwittingly ignored for a significant period of time”
– Kaushik Chakraborty, Chief People Officer, Savills
As a person who has worked in the field of wildlife conservation for the past decade with special emphasis on conservation outreach and environmental education amongst children, the thought that went through my mind while exploring the content was that apps like CFE are a powerful initiation into bringing the wonders of our natural world closer and more accessible to our people.
Post an encounter with the CFE app, my hope is for Debashish and Aarti to convert such apps into bilingual platforms so that they can be enjoyed by people across geographies and create solid ambassadors for our planet.
Please note that the app is certified 3+ by both Google and Apple and this is the strongest certification of the safety of such an app for children, families and schools. The app is also totally ad-free and this has been done to ensure a distraction-free and safe learning environment.
For more information on the app, pl connect: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by : Bhavna Menon