Finding the safer sites and apps to help our kids comfortably watch videos online is a must for any parent who has a little one who likes to chill out occasionally with a screen, or use it as a way to pass the idle hours of a long haul road trip or plane ride. With a gazillion new movies and videos published and live streamed over the internet every day, once again we find ourselves needing to ensure those sites and apps our kids are using, are full of content that is safe for our kids viewing and appropriate for their level of development.
Here are some I like, aimed at the younger preschooler and early primary aged child:
Youtube Kids: This is basically the kids version of Youtube (surprise!) and I talk about it a little more extensively over at Essential Kids. It focuses on curated content which they can search for or you can turn off the search option and just allow previously viewed content. There are timers as well as sound controls to make a parents life more bearable. There is some advertising which is obviously marketed to this younger audience so this is certainly something to be aware of. All in all, a much safer option than the original version. My son seems to love watching other adults play with trains and dumptrucks and make funny voices etc…obviously he doesnt get enough of that from me! Needs to be connected to wifi so not great if you are watching the data!
ABC KIDS iview: this app available on ipad and iphones allows kids to watch all their favourite ABC shows. A huge range, including Charlie and Lola, Dinosaur Train, Lazytown, Mister Maker, Octonaughts, Peppa Pig….in fact anything you have ever seen on ABC kids. There is no advertising, however the only downside is again, you have to be connected to the internet to watch, so if you are away from wifi, watch the data!
Playkids: I love this app. It’s available on ipad and phones too and it is great because you can download the shows your child wants to watch whilst you are at home or on wifi, and then they can watch those ones wherever they are offline without worrying about chewing up data. There are also games and books available and all content is selected with children’s learning and development in mind.
Zoodles: great for younger kids aged 3+ until around 8 years. A search engine for content, games and videos. The browser also makes allowances for kids who are color blind or hearing impaired. The free version allows for age appropriate content, whilst the premium paid version gives a parent greater control and the ability to curate and monitor content. There is also a feature to prevent certain characters from making an appearance. So if Barbie doesn’t reflect your values or Big bird drives you bonkers then you can make them go away! Can also be synced to other devices.
So there you have just a few safer options for viewing videos online. Of course we know that the most benefits we get from screens and technology comes from the more interactive elements. We also know we need to keep passive watching to a minimum or for those idle times and be sure to balance with other pursuits and boredom busters. But for those times when a easy solution and a little downtime is required, then you can at least let them do so with a little peace of mind.