'It provides practical tips, practical solutions!': acceptability, usability, and satisfaction of a digital parenting intervention across African countries


I. Awah, O. Green, L. Baerecke, R. Janowski, J. Klapwijk, A. N. Chetty, J. Wamoyi, L. D. Cluver



The parenting evidence base is well established, and the question is how best to transfer the evidence to an app. App-based interventions could expand access to evidence-based parenting support; however, current provision lacks rigorous evidence, shows low user engagement, and is primarily for commercial gain. This study aimed at testing the feasibility and acceptability of ParentApp for Teens, an open-source, mobile parenting intervention application based on the Parenting for Lifelong Health Teens programme targeting parents of teens. The objective was to gather feedback from users on the relevance, acceptability, satisfaction, and usability of ParentApp for Teens across contexts in Africa, and subsequently, use the feedback to improve the app experience for target users. Caregivers and their adolescents aged 10-17 years, from nine different countries, were purposefully selected for user testing. The study involved 18 caregivers participating in the programme by using the app for 13 weeks and providing feedback on it through remote, semi-structured interviews that explored the app's acceptability and usability. Adolescents of six caregivers were also interviewed. Data were analysed thematically. Participants expressed a high level of satisfaction with the app's content and described it as easy to use and useful. However, views on the app's animated characters varied. Although effectiveness was not a primary aim of the user testing, several caregivers commented that they perceived their participation in the study had helped to enforce positive parenting skills in themselves. Adolescents' data supported the caregivers' reports of less harsh parenting and improved relationships between caregivers and their children due to the caregivers' participation in the study. Findings indicate the app could be relevant and acceptable in participants' communities, but possible barriers to its uptake may be lack of android smartphones, lack of data for app download, and inability of non-literate caregivers to read the content.


Keywords:Pan African; Parenting app; caregivers of adolescents; digital parenting intervention; parenting for lifelong health; user testing.


Link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35980251/