miércoles, 26 de abril de 2017

Babysitting apps boom as parents bid to reclaim free time

            Online, Uber-style booking sites replace grandparents and nursery noticeboards. We can book cabs, or choose a restaurant through social media. But surely, some things are too important to seek online? Apparently not. These days, many parents are entrusting their babies to strangers via babysitting apps such as Bambino, Bubble and UrbanSitter.

            Word of mouth and noticeboards in play centres are being replaced by online resources and the industry is booming. Like Uber, the service can be cash-free, last-minute and 24-hour. Parents log a request, the app notifies local babysitters and the booking can be confirmed within minutes.
            For around £8 an hour, childcare providers such as these are enabling parents to keep one foot in the rave. “Parents are going out more because they have this tool.”said Ari Last, co-founder of Bubble, which launched last year. We think it should be as easy as a friend inviting you out, you hit a button and book your sitter.”
            Apps are especially popular for late-night and evening requests and they even do overnight sits. “What’s really increasing is early morning sitters, parents who want a lie in at the weekend. So sitters coming at 6 or 7am to look after their babies; parents are using it from everything to getting a lie in, to yoga or going to the supermarket.”
            Ruth Maurandy, owner of Rockmybaby.co.uk, says many parents, especially in urban areas, do not know their neighbours and do not have a local network of babysitters to call upon, so have no choice but to use these online services: “These parents are using their phone or tablet for everything else, so why not childcare?”
            One explanation for the popularity of online sitters is that some mothers are beginning to feel as entitled to their free time as men. As parents see themselves more as having a shared responsibility for childcare, they also see themselves as having a shared right to leisure. Other parents disagree; mother-of-two Emily Marsh said: “I know people that spend a lot of money on them but for me the night wouldn’t be as enjoyable knowing that my kids could wake up to a stranger in the house. I’d rather not go out.”
            Another reason for the high demand for these apps is also partly explained by parents having insecure jobs and needing more flexible childcare. Parents are working longer hours than the nurseries are open and some need to commute long distances to work and therefore employ ad hoc childcare services when something comes up at the office, the trains are delayed or an issue arises.

Question 1: [2,5 POINTS] Indicate whether the following statements are true or false and write down which part of the text justifies your answer.
      
       a) Parents must have their money ready when the babysitter arrives to their place.
       b) The app services need to be booked well in advance.
       c) It does not take long to know when the service is already booked.
       d) Parents think they deserve to have time for themselves.
       e) Today's jobs are changing parents' needs.

Question 2: [1,5 POINTS] Find words or phrases in the text that correspond to the words and definitions given.
      


       a) to expand (par. 2)
       b) to facilitate (par. 3)
       c) to have a rest (par. 4)
       d) option (par. 5)
       e) free time (par. 6)



Question 3: [2 POINTS] Choose the most suitable answer (a, b or c) according to the text.

1. The apps services...
      a) ...can only be used at certain times of the day.
      b) ...are never used in the early hours.
      c) ...are mostly used for parents' nights out.
2. These apps ...
      a) ...are accepted by all parents.
      b) ...can be used together with Uber app.
      c) ...have made going out much simpler for parents.
3. Some parents...
      a) ...spend a lot of money on these services.
      b) ...would feel uneasy if they used the apps.
      c) ...ask their neighbours to look after their children.
4. Some parents use childcare apps...
      a) ...despite its high price.
      b) ...due to their working hours.
      c) ...because of the closure of nurseries.

Question 4: [4 POINTS] Write a short essay (about 120-150 words) on the following topic:

            What are the advantages and disadvantages of having so many apps available?


KEY

Question 1: [2,5 POINTS] Indicate whether the following statements are true or false and write down which part of the text justifies your answer.
      
       a) FALSE “ the service can be cash-free”
       b) FALSE “the service can be cash-free, last minute...”
       c) TRUE “the booking can be confirmed within minutes”
       d) TRUE “ they also see themselves as having a shared right to leisure”
       e) TRUE “Another reason for the high demand for these apps is also partly explained by parents having                  insecure jobs and needing more flexible childcare.”
      
Question 2: [1,5 POINTS] Find words or phrases in the text that correspond to the words and definitions given.
      


       a) (to) boom / booming
       b) (to) enable / enabling
       c) (to) get a lie in / getting a lie in
       d) choice
       e) leisure



Question 3: [2 POINTS] Choose the most suitable answer (a, b or c) according to the text.

1. c) ...are mostly used for parents' nights out.
     
2. c) ...have made going out much simpler for parents.
     
3. b) ...would feel uneasy if they used the apps.
     
4. b) ...due to their working hours.
     


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