5 Video-Streaming Apps for Children
Kid-friendly apps let them surf and search safely — without stumbling onto adult content
The Internet is no place for an unsupervised child searching for streaming videos. It’s too easy for him to see inappropriate content. So what’s a parent to do if you need him to watch a few shows on the iPad while you make dinner?
Give yourself peace of mind with these five video-viewing apps that limit your child’s access to age-appropriate content and allow you to set parental controls.
Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited is a subscription-based service for kids that offers 8,000 kid-friendly TV shows, movies, books and games. It works with the company’s Kindle devices, Fire TV set-top box, and Fire tablet.
You can choose how long your kids can watch videos before the movie or television show automatically turns off. You also can hide some content that may be tailored to older children. Your kids will have no access through the tool to adult content.
FreeTime Unlimited starts at $2.99 per month and includes a one-month free trial.
2. YouTube Kids
YouTube Kids is a free app launched earlier this year by Google to provide a safe zone for kids to access age-appropriate content. YouTube Kids, which is available both online and on mobile devices, shows only “family-focused content,” according to YouTube, based on Google’s culling of YouTube videos.
At its launch, some child-safety organizations criticized Google, claiming the company didn’t do enough to remove advertising and other inappropriate content from YouTube Kids. Since then, Google improved the platform and removed most of the ads. However, younger kids may stumble onto content more suitable for older kids.
3. PBS Kids
PBS Kids has a slew of apps for children. The PBS Kids apps include streaming videos of some of the network’s top shows, including “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” and “Thomas & Friends,” as well as access to learning apps.
You can choose the age range of content to be displayed, which is especially handy for smaller children who don’t know how to change settings or modify content filters.
PBS Kids offers its content for free on a range of devices, including the iPad and Android smartphones and tablets.
Several (though not all) Watch Disney Junior television shows are available on the app, including popular ones like “Sofia the First” and “Jake and the Neverland Pirates.”
The Watch Disney Junior app also includes live television support, a built-in radio that plays Disney songs and games.
If you have a Netflix account, you can set up a Netflix Kids account at no additional charge and use built-in parental controls to limit what your children can see. When your children go into the kids account, the Netflix app shows only the shows you’ve allowed them to watch.
One point of caution: There’s nothing to stop the kids from using your Netflix account instead of theirs, where they may find inappropriate shows. One way to monitor your account is to check your “recently watched” list to make sure it contains only the shows and episodes you’ve watched.
Don’t have a Netflix account? Plans start at $7.99 a month and includes a one-month free trial.