App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Kanopy App Poster Image
Watch free movies, shows, animated books with library card.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Depending on content individual users select, there's potential for cultural, language, social-emotional, and math learning, though mostly passive experiences.

Ease of Play

Very easy to use. Must find and tap Kanopy Kids to access kid-friendly content.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

Some popular kids series and brands featured in some videos and animated books.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kanopy is a free entertainment and educational video app that users access through their public library or school. Kanopy has tens of thousands of films as well as TV series, animated books, and educational content, with hundreds more titles added monthly. Up to 10 titles per month can be "checked out," with three days to watch each. The app can be linked to a TV to stream content on a media streaming device. Users must be 13 or older to create an account, but the app's Kids section directs users to kid-friendly content for kids preschool-age and up. Note that if kids leave the Kanopy Kids section, they can access adult content, so it works for age three and up with parent oversight. If your library isn't on Kanopy, the app prompts you to send a request. Kanopy is one of Common Sense Media's paying content partners, but its app was reviewed by an independent writer. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bytrishadey October 10, 2018

Huge upgrade from the old design

This app has a great collection of some of my favorite documentaries from Bill Nye to Banking on Bitcoin! And now the app has an even better user experience wi... Continue reading

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What's it about?

To use KANOPY, sign up via Facebook, Google, or email. Search for your college, university, or public library. If your library doesn't exist on Kanopy, send a message requesting it be added. If your library is connected to Kanopy, the app requests your library card and PIN. Enter both, then tap Start Watching. You can view movie options by category or tap Kids in the upper left corner to view kid-friendly choices. After you tap the show or movie you want to watch, you can read a synopsis, time length, and details. Add it to your watch list, share, or tap the Play icon to begin watching. View the number of monthly "play credits" you have left as well as the keyword search icon in the upper right corner of the screen. Also view kid-specific content categorized under Movies, TV, Educational, Story Time, and Beloved Characters. 

Is it any good?

Having fun isn't hard, if you've got a library card -- especially if your library is registered with this app. Just as the PBS Kids' character Arthur sang, library cards help kids and adults access fun, educational content for free, and Kanopy adds even more choices (including the Arthur series) to the mix. Most of the content choices on Kanopy are similar to what patrons of a well-stocked library would expect: well-selected, award-winning films; independent and foreign films; popular kids' and adults' TV series; educational shows. The animated books are top-quality, with classics from producers such as Scholastic and Weston Woods. When users browse selections in Kanopy Kids, they see only kid-friendly titles. The library card holder's watch list and viewing history are also filtered, so adults-only content isn't displayed. It would be even better if there was a way to set it (via parent controls or a parent gate) to only allow access to Kanopy Kids. As it stands, kids can access adult content if they leave Kanopy Kids. Parents should keep a watchful eye on what kids are viewing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Kanopy is just one of many ways to utilize the free stuff at your local library. Many public libraries now have free games, maker kits, museum passes, read-to-you books, and more for free. Check out our Books about Libraries list.

  • There are some terrific animated storybooks on Kanopy. Talk about the difference between watching an animated storybook and reading a storybook. Which does your kid prefer? Why?

  • Talk to your kid about how many videos are theirs to watch out of the 10 per month allowed on Kanopy (parents may want some screen time on this app full of excellent selections, too!), and read Common Sense Media's parent tips on screen-time limits

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love free educational apps and video streaming

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