Oct 3, 2014

Samsung KidsTime: Making Apps Safer for Kids

Product Review

In today's world where educational apps designed for kids are on the rise, it’s perhaps no surprise that our children are being exposed to the colourful existence of electronic devices at an increasingly early age. And while some of these apps for kids do provide educational benefits, it is also worrying that parents are taking the easy way out - by stuffing their kids with these electronic devices in a bid to quiet them down or keep them pacified.

It is dangerous ground to tread on, especially with games that expose our children to on-line violence, even pornography which tend to manifest in game apps with chat features.

Responsible gaming is best taught when kids are young, so it is with this in mind that Samsung launched KidsTime - a a child-friendly edutainment app that uniquely teaches and motivates children to learn and be more proactive with kids-safe curated content.

Sounds too good to be true? To be honest, I was skeptical when I first heard of it too. So when Samsung invited the boys and I down to its office to test out KidsTime, we were there in a heartbeat... especially since the boys had a legitimate reason to play games on a tablet!

The first thing that stuck me about Samsung KidsTime is it allows parents to set the amount of play time a child can play, up to a maximum of 60 minutes. Beyond this, the entire tablet is locked and will require parents to use a passcode to unlock it.  Ultimately, this teaches kids to use technology responsibly... oh man, I LOVE Samsung KidsTime already!

The premise of the content subscription KidsTime service is simple - to provide kids aged 3-7 years old with access to a carefully handpicked set of edu-tainment apps and eBooks, in a safe and age-appropriate environment, read: zero advertisements, zero in-app purchases.

And when the boys first launched KidsTime, they were at a loss at which game app to begin playing as there were over 80 apps and eBooks to choose from! These apps evolve around themes such as math, literacy, science, creativity and more, which are refreshed monthly.

The games were like a fresh breath of air compared to the Angry Birds and Plants vs Zombies staples that the boys love. Each game app or eBook has a learning element to it, which they did not even know they were absorbing math or science concepts while they were playing.

Ash loved the Angle Asteroids game which had him learning to adjust the angle of his spacecraft, so that its laser can blast away the oncoming asteroids. What an engaging and intuitive way to learn about basic polar coordinate geometry!

Ayd, on the other hand, adored the Battle Station game where he had to defend his ship from enemy submarines by estimating their location through the use of  integers, percentages, fractions and decimals. Learning Math is never this easy... and FUN!

Even Ale couldn't wait to try out KidsTime and was it any surprise the first app she zoomed in was something to do with a Princess? An e-book on Cinderella, to be precise.

But the BIGGEST benefit from a parent's perspective? It has got to be able to track my monkies' progress via the ‘Parent Report’ function. The report allows parents - accessible only via a passcode by the way - to monitor the type of apps their children are playing as well as a comprehensive view of their interest. Depending on the child's interest, the app also recommends apps that would supplement holistic learning. For example, if Ash always play games that lean towards science, it will recommend apps that are geared towards Math and Linguistic learning.

Personally, I feel that this report for parents will allow me to better understand their interests better over time with KidsTime and in the long run, expose them to the areas they are truly passionate about.

Oh, and did I also mention that KidsTime also comes with an 'App Lock' function which prevents children from leaving the app environment without the passcode. So if they get bored with KidsTime before time is up, there is no way that they can exit KidsTime and open other games or watch YouTube videos. Not cool in the kids' view, but a fantastic feature for parents without a doubt! Heh.

With the large variety of kids' apps available in the market these days, it can be challenging and frustrating for parents to filter and identify safe and age-appropriate apps for their children. Although the monkies and I only had a couple of hours fiddling with KidsTime, I have to say my initial impressions are extremely positive.

For one, I now know I can have a peace of mind knowing that my monkies' sessions on an electronic device are safe and meaningful. Do stay tuned as the monkies are given more time to get accustomed to KidsTime and we will share our overall thoughts then.

Until then, do download KidsTime on your Samsung devices to check it out because it is FREE after all! Even better, the FIRST month is free to use so what this means is your child will have access to all of the 80 Games and eBooks for free in the first month!

Should you choose to continue with the monthly subscription service after that, it will be S$6.50 per month. Even if you don’t subscribe, you will always have access to 5 free eBooks and 5 free Apps, as well as your parent reports and safety controls. So what's there to lose, no?

Download your FREE Samsung KidsTime app from the Google Play store now, and get free one month access to one of the best apps for kids now!

For more details, please visit www.samsungkidstime.com.

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