A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
What's it about?
GOOGLE SPOTLIGHT STORIES is a collection of immersive 360-degree movies, where viewers move their mobile device around to look at whatever part of the action they're most interested in. Two of the films, Windy Day and Buggy Night, are whimsical animated stories about forest animals, and a third, Duet, is an animated coming-of-age romance between a man and a woman. The newest film in the series, HELP, is an alien-invasion adventure with some violent action and heavy suspense and is directed by Justin Lin, director of the Fast and the Furious films. There are no parental controls, so all content is available to all viewers, and users can share to social media.
Is it any good?
Not only is this video viewer an innovative approach to how we watch videos, but the movies currently on display are interesting and beautifully animated and feature fantastic storytelling and music. The technology is the real standout feature; moving the device around to look at anything you want in real time with the action of the film is a truly phenomenal experience that really does immerse you in the story in a whole new way: It's virtual reality without the headset. The only drawback is the lack of any curation or gate features, which would differentiate the content for kids, teens, and adults. Also, as new content comes along, parents will want to preview it. For teens and adults, however, this is a unique use of the screen that adds new excitement to short-form film.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about immersive storytelling and the evolution of media formats. Since the emotional experience of watching a film where the viewer controls the perspective is a genuinely new thing, you can ask kids about the difference between watching this type of video and a YouTube video, for instance.
Talk about some of the themes in the films, such as persistence, patience, justice, kindness, love, affection, and commitment.
Discuss the depiction of women in popular media: What roles do women often play? What about men?