A lot or a little?
Parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that to use the Spotify digital music service, users have to log in with a username and password (or sign in with Facebook, where their listening activity can be published, if users opt for that). The service requires users to download an application onto their computer and listen from it. They can also listen via the app; our review references key points relevant to both. The terms of service specify that users should be at least 13 and have parental consent. Song selections can't be filtered for language or content, and album covers, which may also include violent or sexual images, show when the songs play. Kids can follow friends and share playlists and favorite songs but will be subjected to ads unless they have access to a paid subscription. Parents can also access several playlists within Spotify's Kids channel, available in Spanish and English, designed to help kids learn new words and concepts with embedded prompts to encourage parent/kid interaction.
What's it about?
With SPOTIFY, kids can find and stream music by song or album title, artist, top chart ranking, or category. They can create themed radio stations, share their listening activity with Facebook or Spotify's community, or keep it private. Spotify’s Kids category features kid-friendly playlists featuring language-development-based activities. The application also syncs with iTunes or Windows Music libraries so users can access songs they've saved or downloaded. To avoid ads, users need to subscribe and can then download songs to play offline.
Is it any good?
With more than 20 million songs to choose from, the music selection -- which includes current hits and somewhat obscure titles from years past -- is unbeatable. Browsing and searching is really efficient, and users can customize their experience by creating stations or dragging and dropping their favorite tunes into a personal playlist. With the wide selection of stations and albums, there's something for (almost) everyone, whether a user likes gospel, heavy metal, or a completely different type of music. Podcasts and video episodes are available, as well.
Although there are two paid subscription options, you don't need to shell out a dime to find and listen to the music you like. Users who don't sign up for a paid subscription will have to listen to periodic ads -- but they're generally shorter and less annoying than traditional radio commercials. So what's the catch? You have to download an application to use Spotify, and if kids are logged in through Facebook, they can share what they're listening to, though the default is set to off. Parents who are concerned about lyrical content should also know that teens using Spotify can easily search for and find songs with iffy subject matter, so they may want to supervise their kids' listening selections. One good place to start: Spotify-created playlists for kids, launched in 2016. Using music, dancing, singing, and prompts from singing groups and celebrities like Tyler Perry and Frankie J, the playlists can help kids learn new words and concepts. Activities, designed for age 0–3 and 3–5, also encourage kids (and parents) to clap, match beats, and perform movements, such as sitting up and standing down.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how your family feels about handling music. Kids: What kind of music do you parents say is OK to listen to? Are there any types of songs they don't think you're quite ready to rock out to yet?
This site encourages you to connect with your Facebook friends to share musical suggestions. Are there any risks or concerns with letting other people access your music playlists?
Music is a form of self-expression. How do you express yourself? What kinds of songs do you like, and what do you think your favorite singers are trying to say?
For kids who love music
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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.