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The Berenstain Bears Computer Trouble

October 30, 2014

By: Carisa Kluver

The Digital Media Diet

The bear family discovers the world of dinosaur fossils ...

There have been hundreds of Berenstain Bears stories published since the first one debuted 1962. Computer Trouble is one of HarperCollins square paperback series, first published in print in 2010. According to Wikipedia:

"The books feature a family of anthropomorphic grizzly bears who generally learn a moral or safety-related lesson in the course of each story. Since the 1962 debut of the first Berenstain Bears book, The Big Honey Hunt, the series has grown to over 300 titles, which have sold approximately 260 million copies in 23 languages."

This formula, sometimes criticized for being too moralistically simplistic, has been a fast favorite of millions of young readers and their families for several generations. The appeal of these books cannot be overlooked, however, covering useful lessons and topics that are nearly universal for most families. Children, my own included, seem to adore this ursine family and their quaint neighborhood, making the Berenstain Bears a regular treat at bedtime in our house, in particular. While we don't love every story equally, we do love the characters themselves, almost unconditionally, like our own family.

Computer Trouble was written before the tablet era, but does a nice job focusing on some of the downsides of 'screen time'. The bear family gets a desktop computer (monitor/keyboard/mouse) for their home for the first time, initially because Papa Bear wants it for doing taxes and other business. Soon the whole family is instant messaging, browsing social media (on Pawbook), playing video games and even selling & buying things on e-Bear. The perspective on computers is a bit too negative for my tastes, with Papa thinking, "Computers, Nothing but trouble!" In the end, the bear family does discover balance for their media diets, after learning some hard lessons. This story, while far from perfect, certainly makes a good starting point for conversations with kids about using the internet, in particular.

Like the other digital Berenstain Bears books from Oceanhouse Media, this title is interactive in a way that enhances early reading skills. Most images (of the bears, items around the house & neighborhood), will name themselves aloud while the word briefly appears over the illustration. Settings include the ability to record your own narration, disable sound effects and/or interactivity, as well as a nice page-guide.

The Berenstain Bears books have been favorites of more than one generation of parents and children. Now, thanks to Oceanhouse Media, they have a new life in digital. But even in this modern medium, the messages themselves are usually timeless (although a little dated in this title, but only because it's about technology). Overall, we enjoyed this book. It will nicely reinforce for children ideas about balance, limits to screen use and basic digital citizenship.


This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the storyline.

All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.


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The Berenstain Bears Computer Trouble

October 30, 2014

By: Carisa Kluver

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Jan and Mike Berenstain

Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Length (time):
10 - 12 Minutes

Based on non-digital book: Yes

Allows Own Narration:

Uses Motion: No

Age: 3 - 8

English •

Length (pages):
25 Pages


Story Synopsis - The Berenstain Bears Computer Trouble

Join the Berenstain Bears in this interactive storybook app as the family encounters trouble after spending too much time on the computer. Explore pictures, learn new vocabulary, and practice pronunciation with tappable words. Will the Bears be able to balance computer usage to spend less time in front of the screen and more time with each other? [Source: iTunes]


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Orientation: Landscape

Format: Universal


Read to Me, Read Myself, AutoPlay, Record, Page Guide, News On/Off, Sound Effects/Interactions On/Off, Home, Links: (Under Parental Gate) AppStore, FB, Twitter, Email, Web, Privacy Policy

App Release Date:


Size: 46.72 MB

Version: 2.5.1

Lite Version Available: No



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