A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn the art of storytelling and basic moviemaking. TeleStory walks them through each step of the process, letting them choose elements such as setting and theme, and they'll create characters using costumes and special effects. Kids will see how each scene comes together to tell the full story, just like on a real TV show. Once they finish recording one scene, they're asked, "What happens next?" or given a bit of encouragement, coaxing them to elaborate and move forward. The provided cue cards are brief and don't always gel perfectly to make a complete story, but kids can improvise and use their own ideas or adapt the cue card to suit their script-writing needs. TeleStory is a fun, creative storytelling tool that gives kids a taste of Hollywood, helping them create work they'll be excited to share.
Ease of Play
The step-by-step process walks kids through creating a short TV episode. Kids need a steady hand (and steady head!) for the face-tracking to work properly, as they must align the costumes and special effects.
Violence & Scariness
Some episodes allow kids to include very mild, cartoon violence, such as fighting ninjas and spies or aliens with blaster guns.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that TeleStory is a video-creation tool that gives kids a background scene, face-detecting costumes, cue cards, and special effects to create their own themed TV shows. A kid can become a singing contest star, à la American Idol, or serve on a Star Trek-style spaceship. Videos then can be saved to the camera roll and shared from there or published on TeleStory's moderated video channel, ToonTube. Publishing videos requires parental approval, and videos are moderated and approved before going live. Some of the action-packed themes include a bit of cartoon-style violence, but the over-the-top costumes and effects ensure it's all in fun.
Is It Any Good?
TELESTORY both inspires and empowers kids to be creative. The preset themes will spark ideas, and the crazy costumes and accessories will empower kids to set their creative sillies free. The face-finding technology is really cool -- but not perfect -- so kids will have to let go of perfectionist expectations because their costumes won't line up perfectly for every move they make. Kids can choose from story-starting cue cards, or they can develop or improvise their own ideas. At the time of review, included themes are The Band, Star Adventure, Eye Spy, and The News, with each theme featuring a different setting, costumes, and fun special effects -- which, in an already totally cool tool, may be the coolest feature of all. Kids can watch videos created by other kids or share their creations (once approved).
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.