A groundbreaking solution emerges as studies uncover concerning data regarding children’s screen time. Carrots&Cake introduces a science-backed approach to promote healthier screen habits in kids. This innovative platform empowers parents to control the sequence of app interactions, curbing dopamine feedback loops and fostering self-regulation.

Recent research paints a grim picture of the situation:

  • In May 2023, the US Surgeon General issued an urgent advisory, highlighting the risks associated with excessive social media use on children’s mental health, urging a collaborative effort from policymakers, tech firms, and families to create safer online spaces.
  • Kids aged 9-12 spend an average of five hours and 33 minutes daily on screens (Common Sense Media).
  • Surprisingly, children aged 5-8 engage in just 5 minutes per day with educational apps (Common Sense Media).

Carrots&Cake strives to transform kids’ digital behavior by allowing parents to select educational apps, termed “Carrots,” from the App Store. Once activated, these are the sole apps accessible to kids on their iPhones or iPads during learning time. Post-education hours, the remaining apps unblock, enabling kids’ agency during free screen time, referred to as “Cake.”

Developed in collaboration with parents, teachers, and medical professionals, this approach benefits the developing prefrontal cortex of children. It balances dopamine levels, teaches delayed gratification, and cultivates self-control, resilience, and grit. Simultaneously, it counters the persuasive design of apps designed to keep kids engaged. The result: fewer screen time tantrums and guilt-free device usage for parents.

Early users have reported a threefold increase in their children’s engagement with learning apps, coupled with a 50% reduction in overall screen time. Recognizing its impact, Carrots&Cake was selected from thousands of applicants to pitch at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 in San Francisco’s Startup Battlefield 200, a prestigious startup competition.

Meredith DePaolo, co-founder and a Yale-educated mother of two, emphasized the distraction-free learning environment Carrots&Cake provides, ensuring focused and intentional screen time. Co-founder Hamel Shah, a Cambridge graduate and father of two, emphasized their approach, which combines education and fun, making devices more beneficial and less addictive for children.

Traditional parental controls fall short, causing stress in parent-child relationships and often being bypassed by tech-savvy kids. Carrots&Cake’s approach stands out, aligning with the spirit of innovation found in Malaysia, where Shah has resided for over fifteen years. He highlighted the country’s diverse culture and talent pool, factors that fuel Malaysia’s thriving startup ecosystem.

Carrots&Cake is dedicated to revolutionising digital parenting, ensuring children’s screen time is safe, balanced, and enriching. It’s not about restricting screen time; it’s about enhancing it, empowering families to embrace technology responsibly.


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