LQ: 7.5


Brain grade: 7
Fun score: 8

Platform/Console: , , , , LWK Recommended Age: 8+ Thinking Skills Used: ,

SuperBetter is a self-improvement app that focuses on mental, emotional, physical, and social health. Part of a larger self-help movement created by video game designer Jane McGonigal, the philosophy behind SuperBetter is that we can improve ourselves by living our lives as we would play a video game. By assigning point values to the everyday things that we need to do to be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted, these things seem less like chores and more like fun little missions. Users can choose from preloaded “Power-Ups” (mental and physical health breaks), “Quests” (steps toward long-term goals), and “Bad Guys” (code-named “villains” that represent bad habits and bad self-talk) and add their own, for which they are awarded points, levels, and achievements as they progress. Credit is given for things like chugging a glass of water, getting off the couch, resisting fingernail-chewing, reaching out to a friend, or journaling about how one might rewire their thinking or habits. SuperBetter contains no mature content, though it does require of its users a certain level of maturity—reading ability and comprehension, and a bit of self-awareness—making it most suitable for kids 8 and older.



Understanding our own actions, thoughts and feelings.

Screenshot_2015-10-18-13-00-25Self-awareness involves both metacognition and social awareness, and SuperBetter will help kids work on both aspects. Though the app requires that users begin with a certain amount of self-awareness in order to recognize which Quests will be most beneficial and which Bad Guys most need defeating, this thinking skill will only get stronger as children complete the prompted tasks. Certain Quests and Power-Ups are relevant to almost any user (drinking enough water, getting enough exercise, reaching out to a friend, giving yourself a hug), and prompt thinking about one’s thinking and oneself in relation to others. When adding Quests, Power-Ups, and Bad Guys, the app asks users to designate the entry as physical, social, emotional, or mental. New Quests can be set to recur daily, or weekly, and Bad Guys can be assigned a difficulty rating. And just like a video game, SuperBetter encourages cooperative play, allowing users to invite allies for moral support and encouragement, which helps them establish a sense of connectedness, build resilience, and practice gratitude. Additionally, the app tracks user activity and allows comments to be made on completed quests and achievements, giving kids the opportunity to reflect—an important part of building self-awareness.


Managing our actions, feelings and behaviors.

Screenshot_2015-10-18-13-00-10Kids who want to reform their habits and thinking will really benefit from SuperBetter’s Bad Guys and Power-Ups categories. Extra PowerPacks can be added for free that get users moving and thinking about behaviors and self-talk. Preloaded with Bad Guys like “The Rotting Brain Box” (too much TV) and “The Judge” (the nagging feeling that you must fit in at all costs), SuperBetter offers strategies for defeating these “villains” and encourages users to add Bad Guys and come up with methods of their own to defeat them. If positive reinforcement or proactive behavior is more effective, a child might add a Power-Up for a good meditation technique, a favorite physical exercise, a self-time-out, or another coping mechanism when they need to check behaviors or attitudes. SuperBetter even encourages thinking about the future, an important aspect of self-control for kids to practice, with Quests like “Take a Single Step,” for which one must vow to take at least one step every half hour for the rest of the day, and “Get a Future Boost,” which challenges users to find and think about something they are looking forward to in the next couple of weeks.

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