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High Score House: Keeping Kids on Point

For parents, all of the technology loved in the world can be an unwelcome distraction for their children. With so many ways to pass time, it’s never been harder to get kids to do their chores and be productive. But High Score House, a new startup website created by Kyle Seaman and Theo Ephraim, is creating an online game system that rewards kids for doing their household jobs.

Seaman is the co-founder of the company, which is based in Montreal but is currently operating in Mountain View, California, as part of the 500 Startups incubator program. He believes that newfound motivation is what High Score House is able to offer. “What we’re doing is using game design to motivate kids to do their daily routines. We want to help families have a more positive day. We’re trying to do that by empowering kids to make choices, and rewarding them with points. It comes together to build this positive interaction at home.”

Each family that uses High Score House, which is still in its second beta stage, is able to assign point values for different chores their kids do. Kids are able to complete challenges and earn rewards within the site, as can be seen above. High Score House gives suggestions on their website for point values for challenges, but it’s ultimately up to the parents to decide which tasks are worth how many points. “We give outlines for points and assistance along the way, but it’s up to each family to set the point values. That freedom has a cool impact, since families have different priorities. Some value reading more than others, for instance, and will make reading worth more points. Parents want help and ideas, but they have the final say, which makes it much more intimate,” said Seaman. Parents can then give their kids rewards when they accumulate certain amounts of points, according to Seaman. “We’ve started to see these interesting ideas parents have for rewards, like ice cream for breakfast, and it’s having an impact.”

High Score House is limited to just their website right now; making entering the scores on the go a bit of an issue. Seaman and his team decided to start with a website because they knew that they could build it faster, but mobile versions of the site are in the works. A version of the site for the iPad will be available by the end of the month, and, while still months away, a version for Android is in development.

As High Score House continues to grow, word of mouth is spreading, and the kids whose parents have used it are getting smarter. “Parents have noticed the change they’ve seen in their kids. They haven’t wanted to watch TV in order to save up their points for something bigger. Kids have figured out how to work towards earning more points in a productive way,” Seaman said. “Parents have said that they’re less stressed in the evenings. Parents have come home to dishes cleaned, and they’ve been able to have a nice moment.” High Score House has been adding about 30 to 40 families per day to the site, and they’re planning on taking advantage of parenting forums and online communities to have discussions about how parents motivate their kids to do chores. As Seaman said, “The more that parents share, the more value they’ll get out of it. We’re providing a tool, and parents have solutions that are applicable with it. We have ideas of ways to implement them.”

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