Rosie Linder CEO and Founder of Peppy Pals
Rosie Linder is the founder of Peppy Pals, an award-winning EdTech platform developing apps and e-books that teach children about empathy, emotions, and problem-solving skills. As a mother of two based in Sweden, Linder recognized the need for children to be taught emotional skills that help them better understand their emotions and ways that parents can emotionally connect with their children in playful ways. She teamed with the Talawa Games, an award-winning game developer, with the aim of creating a fun-filled interactive app that taught children valuable lessons in emotional intelligence. As a result, Peppy Pals was created and quickly gained success with children, parents, and teachers in Sweden. Today, Peppy Pals is available worldwide, including the U.S. Linder is also an economist from the University of Stockholm and winner of several entrepreneurship awards in Sweden. We got the chance to interview Rosie Linder to get more insight about Peppy Pals and the importance of Teaching Emotional Intelligence in Kids.
It’s wonderful to have children’s games feature the emotional aspects of the characters, rather than attaining gold/points. How did the idea of Peppy Pals come about?
Being a parent, you’re constantly worried about your children’s health – and I’m not an exception. On a deeper-level, I’ve always been concerned about the growing issue of bullying/cyberbullying. But as a mom, I missed a fun way to teach my children Emotional Intelligence – a key factor for their wellbeing. Raising two daughters in a digital era, I also realized the power that games had on my kids, and that’s why I thought: How can I create a bridge between children and adults? So I decided to couple with talented animators and developers who I made cofounders, as well as an EQ-psychologist to provide high-quality products like Peppy Pals. Together we made it. We successfully gamified Emotional Intelligence and built the world’s first company creating games about empathy, friendship and emotions without using text or language.
With no coding experience, you were trying to create a game which is different from the traditional children’s games in the market; the road must be very bumpy?
The road has indeed been bumpy, and there have definitely been times when I’ve had to stop and think “What am I really doing?”. Innovation takes time and requires a lot of work and research. However with a passionate team built on mutual admiration, I’ve had the best support any founder could imagine. And I know I’m speaking on behalf of the entire team when saying that we’re incredibly thankful for the love and support we get from families all over the world. I believe in the law of attraction, and I think that if you are passionate enough about an idea, you will attract the team members that you need to fulfill your dream.
The idea of using no languages for global reach sounds wonderful. In the developing stage of Peppy Pals, did you have any second thoughts of using a language for the game?
The decision to exclude text was easy. Emotions are universal. We don’t need text to express those as body language, and facial expressions say it all. Instead, we decided to use high-quality visuals and animations to mediate these in our games. What we didn’t expect was how this decision would make our apps highly appreciated among families with special needs, which has been wonderful as our mission is to empower all children worldwide.
Obviously, the huge success of the original version called for a sequel, and now the third one Reggy is on board as well.
Yes, we always try to listen to our customers, the kids! Reggy is very popular, and now kids can have their own digital pet, with emotions. We felt like trying something new with Reggy and create a more open-ended game to foster kids’ creativity.
Your thoughts on Emotional Intelligence and Kids, especially teaching them Sharing. It is the toughest thing we are facing with Momo being our single child.
The good thing about EQ is that it can be tough and should be practiced already from the early age. All kids experience difficulties with understanding the concept of sharing. That is a normal part of their development. The foremost reason is that they haven’t developed a sense of empathy and have a hard time putting themselves in the shoes of others. To help, you can try and talk about different scenarios that could happen in preschool or at home, and discuss how friends and family might feel. What happens when Momo refuses to share her snack? Will your friend be sad, angry, disappointed? What will the consequences be? This way, kids learn to investigate consequences of various actions, to imagine how it would feel to be the other person, and in that way learn to see alternatives and solutions.
Future Endeavors, any plans of Peppy Pals which Rosie would like to share with the Audience
Kids learn by playing and having fun. My dream is to provide a combination of digital & physical EQ products that involves as many senses as possible and leads to deeper learning for kids. I absolutely hate bullying and by creating a new generation of children with higher EQ, we will make a healthier, happier and more successful world.
Which is your favorite Peppy Pall character?
I truly love them all. The characters and every scenario in the game are pieces of my heart and soul.