A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Flare Kids is a tool that lets kids view clips and full episodes of popular videos from kid-friendly TV channels (think Sprout and PBS Kids) and websites (think Khan Academy). Parents can fine-tune the settings for up to three kids' accounts on the device. You'll need a steady Internet connection to use the app, and, for reasons that aren't explained, it's not available for users in Texas.
What's it about?
FLARE KIDS is an app created by cable provider Cox Communications to give kids and families access to a selection of popular, kid-friendly videos. Parents can create up to three accounts per device and customize the settings for each user to control which episodes, shows, and channels kids can access and how long they can watch. Parents have several channel options, including PBS Kids, Nick and Nick Jr., National Geographic Kids, several Disney options, and Khan Academy videos. Once kids are in the app, the home screen has a social media-style news feed featuring entries "posted" by characters from kids' available shows. Kids can "favorite" clips and see them appear in that news feed. At the top of that home screen, one of the approved videos autoplays when kids launch the app; it's not immediately clear how to disable this feature. Also, keep in mind that the app only works with a steady Internet connection.
Is it any good?
At the time of this review, there's a lot less content here than you might find on NetKids or YouTube Kids, but that's a good thing: The developers seem to have been especially choosy about which shows and videos they included. Even though the shows are streaming from YouTube, there are no ads, and the only things that autoplay are other kid-friendly, human-curated videos, though that feature is a little irritating. The parental-control features in this app are standouts: It's terrific that parents can take such a granular, detailed approach to managing their children's viewing experience. The developers tout the app's "educational" potential, and that seems a bit oversold: This is a TV-viewing app, after all, and though there's a series of Khan Academy arithmetic videos, kids aren't likely to gravitate toward those when there are so many other options. A lot of these shows have good social-emotional-learning messages, and parents who pick and choose thoughtfully can help engineer a positive viewing experience for their kids with some good learning potential baked in.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Device: iPad
- Skills: Self-Direction: time management
Emotional Development: empathy, labeling feelings, perspective taking
Tech Skills: evaluating media messages
- Price: Free (with optional in-app purchases)
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: August 29, 2015
- Category: Entertainment
- Topics: Dinosaurs, Book Characters, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Fairy Tales, Friendship, Ocean Creatures, Robots, Science and Nature, Trains
- Size: 58.20 MB
- Publisher: Flare Entertainment LLC
- Version: 1.3
- Minimum software requirements: Requires iOS 8.0 or later
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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.