Toca TV

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Toca TV App Poster Image

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Kid-safe, curated video service allows creation, but costs.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Many of the videos are for entertainment purposes only, but some learning potential among the silly stories and fun cat tricks. Videos demonstrating science experiments, magic tricks, origami projects, and recipes can show kids something new and inspire them to try to recreate what they see. The Create mode provides a space for kids to use their imaginations and express themselves while making their own videos.

Ease of Play

Navigation and search controls are intuitive, so it's easy to find and interact with favorite videos.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language

There's plenty of sophomoric humor, such as potty jokes and laughing at other people's expense.

Consumerism

Small icon on the main page takes users to ads for other apps from the same developer; a parent gate protects purchase. The icon can be turned off in the device's settings menu. Some videos also feature brand-name items such as Lego or Barbie.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Toca TV is a subscription-based video-streaming service that presents kids with a curated collection of videos. Kids can watch and search for arts and crafts, silly animal tricks, science experiments, funny stories, and lots more. Content is a mixture of original Toca Boca creations and videos from popular kids' YouTube channels ranging in length from a few minutes to 15 minutes or more. The developer claims that the staff previews all videos (rather than using an algorithm), so non-kid-friendly content theoretically doesn't slip through the cracks. Though there's nothing out of bounds for kids, there's lots of potty humor and mean-spirited characters in some videos. Kids can also use silly effects and drawings to make their own videos, for which they'll need access to the device's camera roll and video camera. Since videos keep playing automatically, it can be hard to find a natural stopping point, so parents may want to discuss guidelines for how long kids can watch. You can try it for free before paying for a subscription, which is $4.99/month. To find out what kinds of information is collected and shared, read the developer's privacy policy and terms of service.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

TOCA TV is a collection of curated kid-safe, ad-free videos to watch and a platform for kids to create their own videos. Watch the content that gets presented automatically, or search by typing keywords or tapping on category icons. Kids can create up to four profiles under which they can save their favorite videos and produce and save their own creations. In Create mode, record on a blank slate or overlay your video with silly effects such as a big open mouth or a farting dog.

Is it any good?

Hours of kid-centered, ad-free videos stream at the tap of a finger, and kids can create, but some content isn't stellar. There are two aspects to consider with an app that delivers original and third-party content: the mechanics and special features of the app itself, and the content it presents. The mechanics are great since the Toca TV interface is super easy for kids to use. Parents have no control over what videos are included (or not included), but it's nice for kids to create their own personal library of favorite videos. The interactive feature that allows kids to use silly overlays while making and saving their own videos is a nice touch that gets kids actively involved with the app. As far as the content, there's plenty that's bound to entertain and amuse kids. Some -- for example, crafts or origami how-tos -- will inspire kids to do things, while others will simply make them laugh. Toca Boca original content features familiar characters, which may be fun for kids who play with other Toca Boca apps. But kid-safe doesn't automatically equal high-quality. Some families may find the tone of some videos snarky and the content a bit lackluster. Nonetheless, for families looking to let kids watch online video content, but worry about them running into ads or adult content, Toca TV can be a good option.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what kids see on Toca TV. Ask them about what videos interest them and why. Which videos make them laugh? Which videos do they find inspiring?

  • Watch together with your kids. Help them follow instructions to do the craft projects, science experiments, magic tricks, and more.

  • Encourage kids to make their own videos. Have them create a story, direct actors, film, and then present what they made to the whole family.

  • Discuss how long kids can watch before turning over a device so that screen use is in balance with other activities.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Skills: Creativity: imagination, making new creations, producing new content
    Tech Skills: digital creation
  • Price: Free to try
  • Pricing structure: Free to Try (free trial and then subscription-based)
  • Subscription price: $4.99/month; $24.99/6 months; $39.99/12 months
  • Release date: October 8, 2016
  • Category: Entertainment
  • Size: 298.00 MB
  • Publisher: Toca Boca
  • Version: 1.5.1
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later

For kids who love streaming-video apps

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