By MIKAILI AZZIZ
Raising children doesn’t come with an instruction manual. And in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many adults have been forced to rethink their parenting techniques, as schools and other resources have closed.
With the help of a free, educational mobile service, parents and caretakers can receive informative texts tailored to the age or anticipated due date of their child — even if they’re stuck at home.
Bright by Text is offered on both a local and national level. The organization has partnered locally with WFYI, assisting parents in Indianapolis for almost four years.
“We want to make the most of a tool that is literally in an adult’s pocket 24/7,” said Gail Strong, vice president of community engagement at WFYI. “We wanted to connect them with really trusted guidance from experts.”
According to WFYI’s website, Bright by Text’s messages will offer a variety of information on “health and safety, early literacy, nutrition and other topics, and also include URLs linking users to more in-depth information and helpful videos.”
As of July, 3,851 subscribers are located in the state of Indiana. More than 81,000 families are enrolled in the service on a national level — serving more than 93,000 children.
Strong noted feedback from local users has been consistently positive, as evaluations are conducted every three months.
“A high majority of parents who use this have told us that it helps them feel more confident in their parenting, and that’s huge,” she said. “If you worry that you’re doing the wrong thing, you might choose to not do anything at all.”
Although the service is used nationwide, the content delivered is also curated from local partners, which enables adults to connect to local resources.
“For instance, when COVID-19 happened, all of a sudden, each of us began to text to subscribers: ‘Here’s where you can get accurate information. Here’s where you can get food, housing, utilities, etc.,’” Strong added. “We had the ability to deliver really targeted information.”
According to a recent press release from Bright by Text, the nonprofit also works in conjunction with other resources such as “PBS, Vroom, Sesame Street, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Contact newsroom intern Mikaili Azziz at 317-924-5143. Follow her on Twitter @mikailiazziz.
Get Parenting Tips
Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, babysitters and others who may be responsible for young children can register for the Bright by Text service by texting WFYI to 274448, or visit wfyi.org/bright and click the link to sign up.
The service is free and includes two to four text messages per week with links to tips, videos and related developmental resources. Subscribers can choose to receive texts in English or Spanish, and can unsubscribe at any time.