What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that they don't have to enter any personal info about their kids when signing up for this subscription-based video service featuring shows aimed toward kids 1 to 12. A code is required to access parents' account information, which should prevent kids from changing any of the settings. Parents can also deselect any videos the site suggests for their child's age group, if they'd like their child to focus on specific topics.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- thinking critically
- conveying messages effectively
- friendship building
Responsibility & Ethics
- making wise decisions
- respect for others
Engagement, Approach, Support
Kids should enjoy the animated, live action, and other videos, which feature well-known animal, video game, and book characters. Site controls let kids feel like they're in charge, but some interactive elements would make the viewing more fun.
Parental controls help kids access age-specific videos and limit media use. Some videos involve just-for-fun subject matter; many have math, science, ethical, and other content. Kids won't get much help relating the lessons to real-life, though.
Parents can set time limits, and kids can watch videos, but the site doesn't offer any extras once you log in. A blog provides activity tips, recipes, site news, and other info.
What's it about?
Kidoodle.TV, launched in 2013 by the Alberta, Canada-based Parent Media Co., features more than 2,500 ad-free shows for kids 12 and under. Kids will recognize some familiar characters, like Super Mario Brothers and Strawberry Shortcake. Helpful controls let parents add up to five kids and select an age group for each, which automatically filters programs into age-specific lists. You can also manually select and deselect programs, set individual viewing limits for each child, and chat with site admins if you have questions.
Is it any good?
KIDOODLE.TV provides dozens of safe, fun videos featuring popular book, video game, and other characters. The content is coupled with effective controls that let parents easily customize the subject matter by age and limit the amount of time their kids can spend on the site. Kids will find plenty to watch, and videos vary in length, so they can choose from short clips to full half-hour episodes. Kidoodle.TV has a few drawbacks: livestreaming videos requires a decent Internet connection; kids can't download shows to watch them later. And while there are lots of episodes to watch, there don't seem to be that many shows to choose from; hopefully they're expanding the selection, some of which is learning-based (National Geographic specials) and some that's just for fun (Inspector Gadget). However, the majority of available videos do seem to have educational or ethical themes; characters stress integrity, self-respect, and other admirable traits (although the inclusion of GIJoe is questionable). Kidoodle.TV could also benefit from adding content that helps kids process the info they're getting on the site, such as discussion questions, worksheets, or activities. In its current format, the site lets parents control what children are watching -- but they can't necessarily guarantee their kids will learn from it.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how much time you should spend watching TV, even if you're viewing something educational. What limits can you set to ensure your child is also enjoying other activities?
One video deals with getting ready to start school. What questions does your pre-school-aged child have? How can you help your child get excited about being in class?
Ask your child why a site like Kidoodle.TV, which doesn't let users post comments, would provide a safer experience than a website that allowed users to discuss what they're watching. What kind of information should your child never post online?