A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
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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.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
- Subjects: Language & Reading: storytelling
Social Studies: cultural understanding
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: May 8, 2018
- Category: Entertainment
- Size: 96.30 MB
- Publisher: Kanopy
- Version: 3.0.3
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 9.0 or later; Android 3.0.1 and up
- Last updated: August 9, 2021
Our editors recommend
For kids who love free educational apps and video streaming
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.