ParentApp is an app version of the Parenting for Lifelong Health for Parents and Teens (PLH for Teens) programme, designed for parents and caregivers of adolescents aged 10 to 17 years. This is the first offline-accessible, open-source, evidence-based parenting app to be designed and rigorously tested in low-resource settings.  It is designed to complement in-person programme delivery and can be used as a self-led option or delivered through a hybrid human-digital approach. It aims to deliver free evidence-based parenting support and child abuse prevention in multiple languages and an adaptable design.

Features and User Experience

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Programme Content:

The app covers simple and effective strategies to build habits, reduce conflict, and support positive parenting practise. 12 modules, including introductory and closing sessions address: 

  1. Parental self-care and stress reduction

  2. One-on-one time

  3. Praise and positive reinforcement

  4. Positive instructions

  5. Managing stress

  6. Family budgeting

  7. Rules

  8. Consequences and accepting responsibility

  9. Problem solving

  10. Teen safety

  11. Dealing with crisis

  12. Celebration and next steps 


Reinforcing positive parenting:

The app guides caregivers through 12 interactive workshop modules and includes scheduled messages of praise,  reminders to relax, suggestions for family activities, and  encouraging check-ins that aim to keep parents engaged. Caregivers can log positive parenting behaviours through a habit-tracking tool called ParentPoints. App users can customise their experience by entering their preferred name, configuring their unique family makeup, and opting to use the app as an individual or within a group setting. The ParentLibrary provides on-demand resources which includes contact information for local support services and additional assistance on topics like coping with grief and COVID-19. 


Built-In Monitoring and Evaluation: 

An integrated M&E system is built into the user experience of the app. It tracks user engagement, retention and outcomes such as positive parenting, child maltreatment, parenting stress, parent self-efficacy and child behaviour problems at baseline and endline.



ParentApp covers simple and effective strategies to build habits, reduce conflict and support positive and nurturing parenting for parents of adolescents. The app has an inbuilt ‘self-care package’ which aims to build confidence, recognize parents' daily struggles and heroism, and offer them evidence-based, simple stress reduction tools. Additionally, as a response to substantially increased rates of sexual and online violence during COVID-19, the app incorporates evidence-based sexual and online violence prevention strategies. 


Offline first and built for scale

ParentApp is easily tailored by partners to best support their communities and to fit local resources, languages, names and existing systems of delivering services. The open- source, modular design of the app ensures it is adaptable to local needs and future extensions. The app is open source and available for developers through GitHub, non-commercialised, and can be used offline in areas where there is no internet or affordable data.

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There are two versions of the app, the modular version is self-directed, allowing the users to choose any preferred workshop topic, while the sequential workshop version moves users from workshop 1 through to 12.

Initial Evidence

Earlier formative phases of the research explored the relevance, acceptability, satisfaction, and usability of ParentApp for Teens with users from nine African countries. Findings confirmed that the content is acceptable, relevant, and useful, and that the app is easy to use. These findings were supported in a small feasibility pilot in South Africa, although low engagement and participant feedback on design informed several adaptations. The app is being piloted in Tanzania and optimised through a cluster randomised factorial trial before the effectiveness is rigorously tested in a subsequent randomised controlled trial.