How careful we are around our children lest they inadvertently learn or hear something ill-suited for their age, but we often give full reign to kids over the use of smartphones and the internet without a second thought. Little do we think that the internet is a world unto itself, it’s crawling with criminals and pedophiles, despite the presence of a secure and neutral platform.
Seemingly harmless apps like YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, Houseparty, Facebook, IMVU, etc, make your your child vulnerable to cyberbullying and exposure to inappropriate material since people of all ages use and interact on these apps. Since it’s not easy for platform providers to ban malicious users from their apps, this lot will keep on coming.
So popular apps are creating altogether separate platforms exclusively for kids, with numerous checks and monitoring options for parents. These apps entail carefully chosen content that is age appropriate and appealing for children so that they can have their fun time on a safe and secure platform.
Most companies and parents alike think that the only apps appropriate for kids are educational or gaming apps. Is that all there is to kids? Spotify doesn’t think so. It is among a few other companies that has cleverly introduced a kids version of its already popular app.
Spotify Kids, however, is solely available for Premium Family Subscribers. It may be because they want to draw in more subscribers to its platform and what could be better than targeting a huge market and fulfilling its unmet needs?
The app boasts a tremendous music library handpicked by select editors, not algorithms, with backgrounds in Disney, Nickelodeon, and Discovery Kids. The app also entails different categories like Activities, Artists, Stories, Movies & TV, Seasonal, and Genres. It gives recommendations based on listening history and age group, and the content has been so accurately filtered so there’s no chance of encountering age-inappropriate content.
Unlike other apps that have entertainment content disappointingly limited to a certain age group, Spotify Kids can entertain children of all groups e.g. preschoolers can listen to nursery rhymes, while tweens can listen to pop songs. If you’re having trouble streaming songs, chances are that you have a weak internet connection. Go for Mediacom home for stable internet connectivity.
Well, it has been years since the launch of YouTube Kids, but it’s worth a mention since YouTube is the most popular video streaming platform and ranks third after Google and Facebook. YouTube used to be popular among kids along with adults since it had unlimited entertainment content generated from across the world. However, YouTube often couldn’t filter suggestive content disguised as kids-friendly and not enough checks were in place to stop children from stumbling upon content with explicit themes, violence or obscenity. Consequently, it was pelted with heavy criticism in 2017 for hosting numerous videos with disturbing content with keywords that targeted younger children.
Hence, YouTube Kids was launched, with a similar experience to YouTube, excellent content filtering and safeguard in place that’s perfect for kids. Despite all these checks, gruesome and violent content kept sneaking its way into the platform built solely for Kids. YouTube kept shooting up its safeguards by ceasing monetization of those channels and keeping devoted human teams in place to review its content.
Ads on the kids-friendly platform have to go through a number of stringent approvals before being deployed. Apart from that, parents can acquire an ad-free experience for their kids via membership in the YouTube red subscription program. Parents can monitor their child’s watch history, restrict channels they disapprove of, flag any inappropriate content, and utilize other parental controls.
In August 2019, YouTube Kids became available on the web too.
Kids love to text their friends and send funny videos and pictures. Social media platforms are quite popular among children since they usually don’t have their own phone numbers. There are many messaging apps like Houseparty, Tellonym, Kik, Ask.fm, or IMVU that are sometimes used by children to interact with strangers. Though these apps may have an age restriction, but flimsy verifications let young children circumvent any restrictions due to which, children run the risk of coming in contact with strangers with nefarious intentions.
Facebook rolled out Messenger Kids, where children under 13 could interact with people that have been approved by parents. The app is linked to parents’ Facebook via which parents can authorize who can chat and video call their child.
The app is built on the premise of safer and responsible use of messaging app; hence the pledge, Be Kind, Be Respectful, Be Safe, and Have Fun.
Messenger Kids did come under fire though when its design flaw let kids create groups in which they could let a stranger, usually a friend of friend, join the group without parental approval. Facebook immediately shut down those groups and alerted parents.
Let Kids Have Some Fun
There is no zero-threat platform; there will always be kink and hiccups somewhere. But we cannot restrict our children from something that is the norm now; this isn’t the solution and would be unfair to your child. The best you can do is to be vigilant when your children are online, just like you’d be when they’re playing outside.