App Kids: Videos & Games

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
App Kids: Videos & Games App Poster Image
Safe sandbox puts control in the hands of parents.

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational value

While kids can use this app to access educational content, it does not provide an educational experience on its own.

Ease of play

Since parents have control over which items kids can use, most kids will have no trouble navigating the experience. 

Violence & scariness

Parents have control over what kids can access, but some of the videos in the moderated video selection contain cartoon violence (no weapons, or silly weapons such as mind control) and mean behavior. There are also short-lived moments of peril, such as when a character is kidnapped by aliens. 

Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism

Parents can control which aspects of the experience kids can use, but there is an "app store" parents can activate where kids can request the apps they want.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that App Kids: Videos & Games is an Android-based sandbox environment for kids to play games, watch videos, browse the web, and make phone calls (some of these features are only available via premium subscription). It includes the ability to lock kids out based on the time of day (or day of the week) or if they go over their allotted amount of time. Once it's enabled, kids cannot leave without using the parental lock. Parents can choose which of the apps, pictures, and videos kids can access and which of their contacts kids can call. It also includes a curated selection of games and videos, as well as a web browser, all of which can be included or excluded by parents. While it's all moderated, some of the content may not be appropriate for the youngest family members (there's mild violence and peril and some consumerism). Parents likely will want to browse that content before providing access. If parents do include the video game browser, they can specify age and gender for suggested games. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

APP KIDS: VIDEOS & GAMES provides a locked-in environment for kids to play apps, watch movies, make phone calls, and surf the web based on what parents think they're ready for. Parents register for a free basic account and can upgrade to a premium subscription with additional features. As a utility, it resides on the Android device and allows parents to pick and choose which apps and other features they want kids to access. For example, parents might allow younger kids to make phone calls only to immediate family members and then, as they get older, add a few friends. The app comes with a few of its own tools including a web browser, a video game/app store, and a video collection. Parents have little control over the content served up in those spaces, but they can choose to remove them from their child's experience. In addition to the included content, parents can choose which of the apps installed on the device to include, such as the Camera or Gmail. They also can choose which photos and videos on the device to place in the library. Parents can set an allotted amount of time for using the device and block out certain times of day for access (such as dinnertime). This app can pair with a parental-control app by the same publisher for remote control, and parents can set it to turn on when the device starts.

Is it any good?

For those who are willing to pay a subscription fee, this is an easy way to control what kids can and can't access on a device. App Kids: Videos & Games is easy to set up, is easy to use, and has quite a bit of granular control. Without the subscription, it's still a powerful tool, but you lose web browsing and some other controls, as well as the ability to choose from your phone contacts for phone calls. It lacks the ability to assign multiple profiles to a device, which is unfortunate for parents who like to hand their phones over to their little ones. It would be nice if parents had more control over the moderated content (videos), but parents can turn those off entirely. The web browsing also feels overly restricted, but parents would likely prefer that over too permissive. Though parental controls can truly only go so far, and teaching kids how to navigate safely and responsibly on their own is critical, this type of app can be helpful to parents of little kids to avoid the worst mishaps.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about making good media choices with App Kids: Videos & Games. If you had limited screen time, what kinds of apps would you play? Do you think this app could help you make smart decisions about how you use your time? Why, or why not?

  • Talk about in-app purchases and how/if kids can request purchases from an adult. What are the family rules?

App details

  • Device: Android
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free (free basic and 30-day premium trial)
  • Subscription price: $2.99/month or $29.99/year for premium version
  • Release date: January 24, 2017
  • Category: Entertainment
  • Publisher: Xooloo SAS
  • Version: 3.1.10
  • Minimum software requirements: Android 4.0.3

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