• Raffi Bandarian

Best CBT App for Kids

Updated: Jul 8, 2019

Everyone has negative thoughts from time to time. Stressful moments can create negative thoughts. What we do in those moments is what makes all the difference. Children aren’t wired to understand that their thoughts can influence their feelings and behaviors. So, can children benefit from an app to help them replace negative thoughts with more helpful ones? That’s the intention behind Triangle of Life.

On the surface, Triangle of Life may seem like any other mobile gaming app, but it is so much more. Triangle of Life benefits children by teaching them how to identify feelings, connect feelings to thoughts, and learn that thoughts shape behavior. So, why not pique their interest in learning self-regulation skills with an app designed for that purpose?

Developed by the Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents at Allegheny General Hospital and Allegheny Health Network and the Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center and Disruptive Technology Institute, the Triangle of Life is free to use and available on Google Play and Apple iTunes stores. It has won an honorable mention in the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations 2014 PEACE app awards. The app was tested with children as young as eight but was found to be most effective for children between the ages of 10 and 12.

Players of Triangle of Life interact and serve as guides to animal characters in a fun storybook setting with various levels of complexity. First, they listen to an interaction between two animals, in which one animal has a negative thought related to that interaction. Next, they help sort out the feelings, thoughts, and actions as a result of that interaction. They help the animal characters leap from platform to platform to collect thought stones, which represent alternative outlooks on a problem. That’s the crux of Triangle of Life – helping children find different rationales to better manage their interpretation of events.

Triangle of Life is best used with a professional, like an educational therapist, who can dialogue with the child.

The Triangle of Life not only addresses a child’s negative thinking habits but also helps identify and sort feelings and their resulting experiences. By understanding their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a fun and appealing format, children equip themselves for life.

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