KidMix -- The Social Network & Playdate Planner for Kids

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
KidMix -- The Social Network & Playdate Planner for Kids App Poster Image

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Social media scaffolding, playdate planner, fun content.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn the basics of social media with parental oversight and preapproved contacts. With adult guidance, kids can practice digital citizenship, screen-use limits, and online safety.

Ease of Play

Easy to use and intuitive once parents go through the lengthy registration process, which requires personal information or a credit card, Amazon, or PayPal account. Simple main screen guides kids to all options. 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

YouTube videos, outside articles from other media sources, and information about other media and brands are part of the SmartZone. At the time of this review, KidMix was ad-free, but the app's legal terms indicate that the developer reserves the right to include ads "within the KidMix Web Dashboard or KidMix App in the future."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that KidMix is a social media app made for kids. After a detailed registration that verifies personal information, parents can use a Parent Dashboard that monitors their kids' activities on the app. A central feature of KidMix is the news feed, which looks similar to Facebook's. There's also content curated just for kids and organized by category in what's called the SmartZone. Kids can post photos, send messages, create groups, and set up multi-kid playdates (which parents then accept, decline, or modify). At the time of this review, there are no in-app purchases and no ads, but the developers may add both at a future time, according to the app's legal terms. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

First, parents must create a username and password on the KIDMIX website and go through the identity-verification process. Then a kid's account can be created. Parents can choose which mode suits their kid: limited user or trusted user, which determines how much control a parent has over content and friends up front, though parents ultimately always have the power to review everything in the dashboard. From the app's main screen, kids can choose from these general options: upload a profile photo and describe their "favorite" things, search for and invite friends, join or create and invite friends to groups, post photos and content on the news feed, and view the subject-specific content in the SmartZone. The SmartZone content is sorted by subject (sports, arts and crafts, movies and TV, and so on), which gives kids a lot of options for substantive content that they can read, view, and repost to their news feeds to share with friends. Parents and kids can also plan playdates with the planner feature, which will send messages to the other registered KidMix users they invite. 

Is it any good?

A good alternative to apps for teens, this kid-friendly social media system stands out because of its customization options and shareable kid-friendly content. A lot of thought obviously went into how to make this app safe for kids, with meaningful content and being as close to traditional social media apps as possible. While the developers indicate it's for kids age 6 and up, and the "limited user" option might work for them, some families might not want to get kids started on social media -- even the kid-safe kind -- quite yet. The playdate planner may work really well or create conflict between parents and kids when a kid sets a playdate and the parent chooses to "decline" or "modify" it, so parents may want to lay down some guidelines around how the family will use that feature together. Overall, if parents and kids can work together to create a robust community, kids can have a lot of fun and, with an adult's help, can practice digital citizenship and responsibility online.

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