Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Kids are appy to get a bite of news

Mumbai-based Chetan D’Souza and Swagat Salunke leverage technology to
provide curated news for curious minds through their app, KidzByte.

Team Kidzbyte: (From left) Abhishek Bangera, Chetan D’Souza (Founder), Swagat Salunke (Co-Founder), Vishwanath Rane, Tanishka D’lyma

News is often boring, confusing and no fun for children, and that’s the reason the idea of reading newspapers or following news on television channels fails to cut much ice with them. On the contrary, they don’t mind spending a lot of time with the screen, which has a profound impact on their social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. And so it becomes imperative for all of us to ensure that our children learn how to use technology wisely. Working around these thoughts, Chetan D’Souza, a seasoned marketing and corporate communications professional and Swagat Salunke, a design maverick came together to launch a news app – KidzByte – to provide curated news for curious minds. The educational app has leveraged technology to dish out the not-so-interesting news in a snazzy format for the tech wise younger readers. The idea remains to help children from Grade 4 to Grade 12 stay abreast with news and newsmakers. The app has different sections like India & World, Fun & Learn, Education & Career, Science & Discovery, Technology & Gadgets, Health & Lifestyle, Sports & Entertainment, and Weird & Wacky, and one has the option to access it as a student, educator or parent, mark favourites and save them to read later and also earn points by playing quizzes attached to every article, visiting the app regularly and via referrals. “There is a leaderboard on the app which displays your result and you also get to see the points earned by other participants. The intent is to make the app more engaging and add to the fun in a competitive environment,” quips D’Souza.

Tech that

The KidzByte Educational News & Quiz App is available for Free on Google Play Store  https://goo.gl/caJJJu). It is dedicated to guiding kids to thrive in a world of media and technology. Recounting their initiation into the business of news for children, founder D’Souza says, “Coming from media, marketing and communications background, we always had access to several newspapers, news portals and news apps. However, one of the biggest challenges facing the news business is how to appeal to younger audiences. Kids would love to know what’s happening around the world, but adult news channels and sites can sometimes be scary, overwhelming, or even boring for children. There is no suitable news source for kids that is current, relatable and easy to understand.

News that children consume today is not curated, not age appropriate and not engaging enough.” And that’s the gap the duo wanted to fill in with KidzByte MediaTech Pvt. Ltd. and launched a simple, and yet interesting news app only for children. “The name KidzByte combines Kids, News and Technology. And that’s what our app is all about,” adds D’Souza.

Team Wise

The KidzByte has a compact team with a couple of content writers, design expert, offline marketing in-charge and a digital marketing resource. Along with this, KidzByte also works with a bunch of tech geeks as technology plays a crucial role to ensure curated news is delivered in an engaging fashion and on a stable platform. The duo has been dealing with their own set of challenges and opportunities after taking the entrepreneurial plunge. “We are learning every single day, and that’s what keeps us motivated,” says D’Souza. The duo had to practically unlearn and learn a few things to run this venture. “Now we need to go in-depth to understand finance, legal, compliance, and other functions where we had very little expertise earlier,” he says.

The idea was to establish a product-market fit. And to make the news app perfect for children, the duo visited many schools and interacted with educators and students, paid heed to their concerns to ensure that they were creating a useful platform.

Special features

The result is out there for all to see. The app bears a stamp of all the hard work and thought that has gone behind in creating it. “We wanted the KidzByte app to be an engaging one with two-way interaction. We run a contest every day and also include quizzes with every article. This approach has worked for us,” says a beaming D’Souza.

The content is not only appropriate and suitable for kids but also uses an innovative and kid-friendly approach. The app is updated daily with news from across the world under eight different categories. Along with general knowledge, there’s ample emphasis on current affairs to ensure kids grow up well-informed about the world around them. “The app also comprises features like ‘Read To Me’, animated videos and quizzes among others. Not your ordinary news app, KidzByte comes with a host of contests like 15Under15 and KidzByte Olympiad and prizes ensuring engagement with its audience,” he adds.

Their aim to empower kids, parents and educators by providing unbiased and trustworthy information, innovative tools and an independent voice, by harnessing the power of media and technology has paid off well since its launch in July 2018. “We’ve received over 20,000 app downloads so far, and looking at the response and how integral KidzByte has become in the day of our readers that even if they spend 10 minutes on the app each day, we have achieved what we had aimed for,” he says. The duo gets overwhelming responses to the contests, KidzCorner (a section dedicated to readers’ work, writing, art, etc.) and even at their school contact programs. “We couldn’t be happier; it only makes us want to work harder to provide our reader with a great platform they can rely on and be a part of,” says D’Souza in the parting.

So next time your child insists on laying hands on the gadget, ask him or her to scroll down the KidzByte news app, and learn while having some fun.

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