Pok Pok Has Been Nominated for an App Store Award
Out of 2 million apps, what sets us apart?
Can someone pinch us?!
Out of almost 2 million apps on the App Store, Pok Pok has been nominated for an App Store Award for fostering new ways to celebrate the cultural diversity of our world. We have been walking on clouds since we heard the news.
All of this would not be possible without the families that take time to share their experiences with the app. Our community has been co-creating Pok Pok with us from the very beginning and this nomination is as much theirs as it is ours.
Now, we are truly honored to be up for this award, further empowering us to help raise the next generation of creative thinkers.
We see this mission as having two key components: reimagining digital play as well as offering windows and mirrors to the wider world.
Reimagining Digital Play
Part of our goal is to change perceptions of what screen time for kids can be. One of the ways we’re doing this is by simply creating something that is gentler and safer so kids can have fun while they learn, and parents can trust that they’re in good hands.
A main concern parents have with screen time is that it will get their kid “addicted” or lead to a tantrum from being overstimulated. We’ve spent years cultivating a calm, developmentally safe experience for our families.
To achieve this, we’ve opted for more unconventional methods like handmaking our audio and visuals and developing toys that have no levels, coins, or “winning”. Just opportunities for kids to learn through play!
The lack of these gamified structures and reward systems also gives space for kids to use their own creativity and problem-solving, strengthening key life skills that are crucial to exercise in these early stages of development.
We’re delighted to hear that these design considerations have been especially helpful for neurodivergent kids who regulate in their own unique ways and have needs that can be different from neurotypical children.
Windows & Mirrors
We believe that children need both windows and mirrors in their lives. Children need a window to the world to see things that are different from their own situation, to widen their world view and grow empathy. They also need a mirror to recognize themselves and their families and see their world represented as well.
We do our best to offer this and are always so excited to hear when something in Pok Pok has sparked discussions and curiosities that lead to more learning outside of the app. In the app, applying this principle results in cultural updates in the Busy Book toy like Lunar New Year, Holi, and Diwali. It means including characters in toys like Town with visible disabilities so our players in a wheelchair or with a hearing aid can see themselves on a screen. It means adding more rainbow cheer, opening family structures, and breaking rules about how gender should be expressed so LGBTQ+ families don’t have to feel like an invisible “other”.
That last one has brought a lot of criticism our way, often in the form of accusations that we are pushing an “agenda”. However, they are not totally wrong.
Our agenda is to represent and celebrate the diversity of the world we live in—including LGBTQ folks.
While this lack of acceptance (and sometimes downright hate) can be frustrating, we have so much hope for this next generation of kids. This is largely because we see that many parents are opening up to the importance of teaching children how our differences are something to lean into, not further divide us.
The world is progressing in terms of representation and celebration of our uniqueness, but we know that there is still a long way to go. As one company, we can’t change the world. But if we all contribute in the small ways that we can, we’ll make such a bigger impact.
No matter what happens, we can already feel the impact of perceptions changing when it comes to both screen time and representation. This hope is only furthered by Apple’s recognition of Pok Pok. We are so grateful and proud to be up for an App Store Award—especially among a list of incredible finalists. Stay tuned for the results by joining our community on Instagram!
We’ve been so inspired by the unique approach of each child who plays with our toys and can’t wait to hear what families like yours think of this one. Receiving your feedback, videos and ideas for new updates is so important for the growth of Pok Pok so please say hello at email@example.com or on social media @playpokpok.