A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
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?
For kids who love safe videos and searching
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.