Breaking news into kid-sized bytes

Pratip AcharyaUpdated: Saturday, September 21, 2019, 07:27 PM IST
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Mumbai: With children firing up kindles to dive into the world of reading and looking at mobile screens and gaming tabs instead of comic books, it is a very long shot to expect them to read the newspaper every day. This habit is a rarity, not routine. The present generation of schoolgoing kids spends a significant amount of their daily routine fiddling with digital media. Doctors and researchers are citing these as red flags, with the potential to hamper a child’s intellectual growth at a very premature stage. To counter these growing problems and help restore the reading habit in children, a communications expert in Mumbai has come up with a knowledge-sharing mobile app - KidzByte. The digital app is India’s first short format news application, designed mainly and only for kids.

The app is an effective medium to turn the challenges of digital media into opportunity, as in this manner, reading the news can be automatically ingrained into them, enhancing their digital experience and providing them with better avenues of news. The app has been developed by 38-year-old Chetan D’souza, marketing and corporate communications professional, who has worked 16 years as a brand manager and media strategist. Speaking to The Free Press Journal, Chetan informs, his prime agenda in developing this app is to make children more aware of the world outside in this fast-paced society, “We want to create better-informed citizens and help them know what’s happening in the outside world,” he says.

Chetan and his team of 15 employees outsource news articles and rewrite them so as to make it understandable to children. Information is provided, not just on current affairs but also sports, health, technology and careers. Currently, the app has around 65,000 registered users from around the nation and this number is growing, with 800 new users being added every day. “The reason our app is registering such high usage is because it’s free of cost. There are also regular quizzes and contests, in which children can participate and win exciting prizes,” adds Chetan. The creators of the app received their first seed-funding in March this year, the original version of the app having been created and launched last year, by dipping into their savings and fixed deposit accounts.

With time, Chetan and his team aspire to make the usage of this app widespread and reach every nook and corner of the nation. “We intend to create more diverse content, to engage children. They are the future of our nation, so we need to ensure the right information reaches them at the right time,” stated Chetan. The app is available on Google Play Store and Apple Store. KidzByte has a pan-Indian availability, including major metros like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata.

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