Barnrättsprinciperna / about PlayTimer

Work-proof your mobile when spending time with your children - with the new app UNICEF PlayTimer

UNICEF’s new initative from Sweden raise awareness on companies responsibility for children’s rights, highlighting how parents today work via their mobile phones while spending time with their children. The constant availability, even after working hours, is in other words replacing family time.

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Playtimer
Work-proof your mobile when spending time with your children - with the new app UNICEF PlayTimer

According to a UNICEF survey, conducted in Sweden in April 2014, over half of all parents, with children between the age of 0-12 years, are checking work emails and receiving job related calls after office hours. Nearly half of all parents also say that being available on their mobiles, decrease the time they otherwise would have spent with their children. According to “The Children’s Rights and Business Principles”, employers have a duty to provide decent working conditions for parents and caregivers.

UNICEF Sweden has therefore developed an app, UNICEF PlayTimer, that enables parents to spend quality time with their children, without interruption from work. With the app, the child takes control of the parent’s mobile while spending time together. If the mobile is touched while in locked mode, an alarm is activated.

The app is available in App Store in the following languages; Swedish, English, Spanish and French.

1. What is UNICEF PlayTimer?

PlayTimer is an app developed by UNICEF Sweden. The purpose of the app is to raise awareness on companies responsibility for children’s rights. UNICEF has developed PlayTimer to help parents work-proof their mobile phones and secure room for uninterrupted playtime with their children, without interruptions. If the phone is touched when in locked mode, an alarm is activated. The only way turn off the alarm, is to verify that you are with your child, using the app’s face recognition funtion. The app is available in App store.

2. What is the purpose of PlayTimer?

The app is a part of a campaign that aims to raise awareness about the “Children’s Rights and Business Principles”, a coprehensive set of principles that helps companies take responsibility for children’s rights. “The Children’s Rights and Business Principles” clearly states that it is the employer’s responsibility to assure that work conditions doesn’t effect children negatively. According to “The Children’s Rights and Business Principles”, employers shall provide employees with caring responsibilities and a family-friendly workplace with reasonable working hours. With UNICEF PlayTimer, parents can work-proof playtime with their child.

3. Why should I work-proof my phone when I’m with my child?
More than 81% of all parents in Sweden who have children between the ages of 0-12 are checking emails and receiving job calls after office hours. 2 out of 5 parents also report that the constant availability their mobile phones bring, results in less quality time spent with their children (UNICEF, 2014). With UNICEF PlayTimer, your child becomes the boss of your phone and playtime together is protected from emails and work related calls.

4. I understand that the phone can still receive incoming calls, emails, and messages? Then, what’s the point of the app? It doesn’t seem to fulfil its purpose.

The app is mainly a tool to raise awareness on corporate responsibility on children’s rights and the “Children’s Rights and Business Principles”. But it’s also a playful way to support parents and caregivers in spending more time with their children.

5. Why is the app translated into multiple languages?

UNICEF engages with several multinational companies and we want to use our network to spread information about the campaign, so naturally the app had to be available in several languages. UNICEF is also a global organization, and we hope that our colleagues in other countries will use the campaign in their markets. This is a way to work use our resources effectively within our organization.

B. HOW THE APP WORKS

6.    How does the app work?

With the UNICE PlayTimer the child can work-proof their parent’s mobile phone in a playful way. If the phone is touched while in locked mode, an alarm is activated. The only way to turn off the alarm is for the parent to verify that they are spending time with their child using the face recognition function.

7. Who has developed UNICEF PlayTimer?

PlayTimer is an app developed by UNICEF Sweden. The app is part of a campaign with the purpose of raising awareness on companies responsibilities for childrens rights and the “Children’s Rights and Business Principles”. The campaign targets the broad public. Learn more about the campaign and the “Children’s Rights and Business Principles” at unicef.se/csr. The campaign was developed by the PR agency Deportivo.    

8. How do I turn off the app?

You turn off the app by pressing the “home button” on your iPhone.

9. Can I receive calls while the phone is set to locked position? Is it possible to make an emergency call?
 
Yes, calls will be received even while you use the app. To make an emergency call, exit the app by pressing the “home button” on your phone. Then dial your country’s emergency phone number. 

10. What happens if I want to cancel before the timer is finished?

If you would like to cancel earlier, simply pick up the phone. The alarm will then be activated, and it is possible to turn it off after 10 seconds by tapping “cancel”. It is also always possible to press the “home button” on your phone to cancel the alarm.

11. Is the app also available for Android or Windows phones?

No, the app is not developed for platforms other than iOS.

12. How does face recognition work?

The technology behind the modern face recognition has historically been developed by different military authorities, primarily in the United States.

Today face recognition is used for advanced image research and cataloging photographs in the home computer, and this is just a few examples. In UNICEF PlayTimer the face recognition function is used to ensure that the child who locked the phone is the same child present when the parent starts using the phone during playtime.

The identification is processed through a feature that analyzes and matches distances between different parts of the face – finding differences and similarities  between proportions. In PlayTimer we are using the open framework Open CV. Read more about FaceRecognizer in OpenCV here: http://docs.opencv.org/modules/contrib/doc/facerec/facerec_tutorial.html

13. Why should I take a photo of my child to lock my phone?

The idea with UNICEF PlayTimer is that the child becomes boss of the parent’s phone while they are spending time together. The child is therefore involved in locking the phone, to ensure that work doesn’t interrupt family time. No images are stored after completed playtime, and can therefore not be used outside the app.

14. Is it possible to take a photo of someone other than my child when I want to lock the phone?
You have to identify the same person as you first took a photo of in order to unlock your phone. Technically it doesn’t matter who you take the photo of, as long as it is the same person in both instances.

15. Does the number of minutes I set the timer matter?
 
The app will work regardless of how many minutes you set the timer for. The more minutes you put in, the longer you’re protecting quality time with your child.

16. Can I collect points in the app?

No, you can’t collect points in the app.

17. For other technical problems, who do I contact?

For any technical problems, please send an email to playtimer@unicef.se

 

C.    ABOUT THE CHILDREN’S RIGHTS AND BUSINESS PRINCIPLES.


18. What are the “Children’s Rights and Business Principles” and what do they have to do with  PlayTimer?

“The Children’s Rights and Business Principles” were developed by UNICEF, Save the Children and the UN Global Compact. The principles were launched internationationally in 2012 and are the first comprehensive set of principles to guide companies on the full range of actions they can take in the workplace, market place, and community to respect and support children’s rights.

According to the “Children’s Rights and Business Principles” it is the company’s responsibility to make sure that work does not affect children in a negative way. This does not only concern children living in poor countries. It is also about making sure that employees’ children, in for example Sweden, won’t get affected negatively by their parents’ work. To raise awareness on the “Children’s Rights and Business Principles” in a way that employees with children could relate to, we decided to use an angle that parents and caregivers in many parts of the world can relate to.

19. Do you mean that companies violate the principles when they’re demanding availability after working hours?

According to the CRBP companies have a responsibility to make sure that their business does not affect children negatively. With the “Children’s Rights and Business Principles” companies have the tools that supports their discussion on children’s rights and the impact the company has on the children of their employees.