7 Unique Ways my Kids Use the iPhone


The Apple iPhone is a necessity in our household, at least my kids tell me it is. It seems that the iPhone is practically grafted to the hands of my children as they walk around the house. I almost think that they are going to grow another appendage for them to simply carry it and use their other two hands to do everything else. It’s often a battle to pry it out of their grasp when they go to bed or need to do their homework.


And now, with the announcement of the Apple iPhone 5 out in the general public, they, of course, want one. We apply a trickle-down policy in our household. As the parents upgrade, the older iPhones make their way down the food chain. I believe our dog now has an iPhone 3G and he sure is good at texting his four-legged pals.

But what really amazes me are the use cases that my daughters have come up with using their iPhones. And I thought that I would share the common and creative uses. Oh, and if you have an iPhone 4S or the iPhone 5 or an iOS device that supports the magic of Siri, you might want to read this article: “iOS 5 Tip: Using Siri As A Spell Checker and Spelling Assistant – Spelling Test Results!” since a couple of the examples below are related to homework.


We all know many of the obvious ways that the iPhone can be used by kids: playing games, emailing, texting, social media, taking pictures…you get the idea. So I wanted to dive a bit deeper on some unique use cases. So, I asked my kids “how do you use the iPhone” and the list below are the ones that I believed to be particularly noteworthy.

Here are the 7 Unique Ways my kids are using their iPhones:

  1. Doing homework research – From Wikipedia to WolframAlpha to simple Google searches, the iPhone is among the first things that my kids turn to. Wikipedia provides fairly detailed explanations of just about everything, WolframAlpha is a great aid for those tricky math problems and Google is…well…Google. If there is something written about anything, Google will find it.
  2. Timing how long to brush your teeth –  My children have been told over and over that they need to brush their teeth for a set amount of time. So, my youngest daughter took this to heart and actually uses the Countdown function of the Clock to time her brushing for 2 minutes.
  3. Taking pictures of homework assignments –  As my oldest daughter frequently does her homework on commutes to and from ballet school, she doesn’t often want to lug around 10 lb. text books, so we take pictures of her homework assignments and then text them to her. Some day perhaps all text books will be digital. Until then, little backs and shoulders will be screaming with pain.
  4. Timing how much reading is done –  Another requirement that all of my kids have in school is reading (or doing math or writing) for a set amount of time each day. So, when they read, they often fire up the Stopwatch in order to time how much time they spent on a particular activity.
  5. Using Dropbox to share homework –  My oldest daughter has lots of papers to write. In order to gather her research as well as photos or illustrations for her papers, she frequently searches on the iPhone for this media, saves the picture to her picture gallery, then saves the image via Dropbox to a shared folder which she can then grab from her computer to put into her paper.
  6. As a mirror – My middle daughter uses the FaceTime camera to check out her hair, how her earrings look or practice her best smile. It’s so much better than a pocket mirror!
  7. Recording spelling practice – I saved the best for last. My youngest daughter came up with a brilliant way for her to do her spelling practice. Since all the other members of our family are often too busy to help test her, she took matters into her own hands and simply recorded all of her spelling words using the Voice Memos app. She puts a little pause in between words so that she has time to write down the words. That makes her completely independent when it comes to doing her spelling practice! I’m sure the same process could be applied to learning the multiplication tables.

How are your kids using a mobile device like the iPhone to make their studying or lives in general better? Leave a comment!


HTD says: I simply love it when my kids discover new ways to use technology to better their lives, completely on their own!

2 Responses

  1. Really good article. I’ve used the FaceTime camera a few times when fishing items out of the rain gutter. It is an easy way to see where items like tennis balls are lodged without having to break out the big ladder or climbing on the roof.

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Michael Sheehan (“HighTechDad”) is an avid technologist, writer, journalist, content marketer, blogger, tech influencer, social media pundit, loving husband and father of 3 beautiful girls living in the San Francisco Bay Area. This site covers technology, consumer electronics, Parent Tech, SmartHomes, cloud computing, gadgets, software, hardware, parenting “hacks,” and other tips & tricks.

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