BabySteps is a free smartphone app that was designed by academics to help parents capture their child’s learning and development, keep precious memories of them growing up and help scientists study child development at the same time. The version that is used for Children of the 2020s has been specifically designed for the purpose of this study.
Why should I download the app?
By downloading the app, you will have the opportunity to create a unique record of your child’s learning and development over their first few years of life. We hope that you will find the app an enjoyable way to document and look back on your child’s development. It also allows the study team to get a better understanding of how the children in the study are getting along in between the times that we see them, as well as hearing how you are getting on. It’s a great way to do child development research and stay in touch.
What will I be asked to do on the app?
Once you have downloaded the app, you will have access to its special features, including the opportunity to create and share a personal record of your child’s development through diary entries, photos and videos. You’ll also have access to daily trackers that can help you record your child’s milestones, development, and sleep habits over time as well as a regularly updated News & Articles section where you can find out all about the science of child development.
In the app, you’ll also find a set of research activities that you can do to help the Children of the 2020s study gain a more complete picture of family life and child development. As a thank you for your time, when completing the ‘Research Activities’ you will receive reward points in the app that can be exchanged for e-vouchers. See ‘How do I earn BabySteps e-voucher incentives?’ FAQ below. We will release a new research task for you to complete about once a month. Each task will usually take no more than 5 minutes. You can find a list of the available activities on your ‘Research Activities’ tab. To take part, simply click on the activity and follow the instructions on-screen. If you have any questions, please click the ‘About’ tab for further guidance, or you can contact the study team using the details in the ‘Where can I get support for the app?’ FAQ below.
How do I earn BabySteps e-vouchers?
By completing the monthly research activities in the app, you’ll be eligible for e-vouchers. You, your partner and/or your child’s other parent (if applicable) can participate in these activities to each earn e-vouchers. Each task you complete gives you one reward point in the app, and you will receive a £5 e-voucher for every 5 reward points. Eligible tasks are released approximately once a month. Remember to allow BabySteps to send you notifications on your phone (see “How do I download the app?” FAQ below) as you will receive a notification when a new task if available.
How do I download the app?
Please see our BabySteps app guide on how to download and get started with the app. The app can be downloaded from the App Store on IOS devices, or the Play Store for Android.
To access the app for the first time, you will need your unique login ID, which you were given during the Age 9 months survey. If you have lost your unique login ID for the app, please contact the UCL study team by emailing email@example.com or calling Freephone 0203 108 2248.
If you have an iPhone, we recommend checking your notification settings to help you get the most from your BabySteps app. To do this, simply follow the instructions below:1. Click Settings
2. Click Notifications
3. Locate BabySteps in the list and click it.
4. Allow notifications.
Can I use the app if I am the parent/caregiver of twins/triplets?
Unfortunately, the BabySteps app research activities are currently not accessible for families with twins/triplets. We sincerely apologise for this, and we still welcome you to download the app to keep in touch with the study team and to record precious memories of your children as they grow and develop using the ‘Baby Diary’. You are also welcome to browse the ‘News and Articles’ section of the app where you can stay up to date with the progress of the Children of the 2020s study and find regularly updated articles on the science of child development. When registering for the app, you’ll be asked to enter your child’s name. In the box provide you can enter all your children’s names separated by an “&” (for example, “Tom & Tim & John"). You’ll also be asked to add a picture of your children to personalise the app. Here you can add one photo of your children together.
Where can I get support for the app?
If you have any questions or require any assistance to take part, please contact the UCL study team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling Freephone 0203 108 2248.
Can BabySteps access my phone's data?
BabySteps does not have access to any other information collected by your smartphone or by other apps you use on your smartphone. BabySteps cannot access your smartphone usage, nor can it track your location. The only data BabySteps can collect is that directly entered by you.
What happens to the data I upload to the app?
The information you provide through the app will be stored in a highly secure system provided by Amazon Web Services, and will be accessible by the study team and app support technicians. Amazon staff will not have access to any of your information, nor will anyone else outside the Children of the 2020s study. Any information, photos or videos you share with the app will be kept confidential, and only those submitted via the ‘Research Activities’ will be used for the research. Your data will not be passed on to any third party. The app includes an option to share your ‘Baby Diary’ entries (such as photos or videos) to your own social media accounts for sharing with friends and family if you like, but this is entirely up to you and is for your convenience and enjoyment. The BabySteps app does not track you and does not include any adverts.
The data gathered as part of the research activities you complete on the app will transferred to UCL’s secure servers for analysis purposes. The data will be treated in the strictest confidence and no individuals will ever be identified any reports or publications based on the research. Once the study is complete your data will be securely transferred to the Department of Education for archival purposes and destroyed from UCL’s systems.
More information is included in the privacy notice within the BabySteps app.