Google has split Family Link into two applications. Previously, the parental control service was offered in a single app which was installed on the devices of parents and children alike. The existing listing has now become Family Link for parents and a second app, Family Link for children and teens, has been introduced. After installing the latter on a child's device, parents can control it directly from their dedicated app. Read More
Back in April, Google announced that it was readying new features for the YouTube kids app to give parents greater control over the content their children are able to access. The ability to carefully select every channel and video available on the account is now going live, as well as a new experience for 'Older' kids. Read More
Google's Project Fi has just announced that its group plans are now family-optimized, with additional support for Family Link-associated children's accounts. In essence, Google is still pushing the same group plans it had before, at the same $5 per person discount, but as of today you can add children under 13 to your Fi group plan and continue to manage their device use via Family Link. Read More
Facebook has released its new Messenger Kids app to the Amazon App Store, making the service available to owners of its Fire line of tablets. So I grabbed one of the Fire 7 tablets we have for our kids and installed the app to see what it was all about, and just how well it works on Amazon's lowest-end hardware. Read More
If you've got teenage children I can imagine its difficult to get the right balance between allowing them the freedom to develop into responsible adults and watching their every move so they don't mess up. I don't have children myself but I was one once, so I guess I have some idea what it's like. Amazon knows this, too, and so it's launching a new feature that gives teenagers a bit more freedom when it comes to shopping. But not too much.
Amazon's new accounts for teens, specifically those between 13 and 17, give them independence to shop on their own, but with certain controls in place. Read More
Back in March, Google announced an interesting new app allowing parents to set up accounts on Android devices for kids under 13. Unlike setting them up with a standard account, Family Link gives you power over what they can do with their phone or tablet. The app was available as part of an invitation-only test in the US, but now it's getting a widespread public launch. Read More
LEGO must be one of the most ubiquitous toys in the world. It's hard to imagine growing up without it. Somehow, the company has managed to remain relevant all these years, finding new ways to engage with kids as the world around them changes. One of the most highly anticipated LEGO releases for some time is the Boost Creative Toolbox, which tasks you with building a robot named Vernie, among others, and programming them to perform certain actions using "drag-n'-drop coding." It's due to ship from August 1st, and in preparation, the Android app has just been made available. Read More
Yesterday Sony Global Education launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding project for its newest educational initiative. Meet KOOV a programming and robotics kit for children. Think Legos meets robots (which is already a thing) but with better software and simpler hardware. With these tools, your kids can pick up programming fundamentals at a much earlier age. Perhaps little Suzy might be the next Wozniak or Stallman. Probably with less facial hair, though. Read More
Everything can be hacked, as a certain Overwatch character is fond of saying. That seems to be increasingly true of consumer electronics... including stuffed teddy bears and unicorns. According to security researcher Troy Hunt, a series of web-connected, app-enabled toys called CloudPets have been hacked. The manufacturer's central database was reportedly compromised over several months after stunningly poor security, despite the attempts of many researchers and journalists to inform the manufacturer of the potential danger. Several ransom notes were left, demanding Bitcoin payments for the implied deletion of stolen data. Read More
LaunchPad Toys, an educational content app developer, was acquired by Google back in February of 2015, and one result of that acquisition is Toontastic 3D, a more animated version of the developer's loved and applauded Toontastic (check those Common Sense ratings).
The app is described by Google as a "digital puppet theater," but that's only scratching the surface. Kids can grab one of the many characters and settings provided, move them around, add a song, record their voice for dialogue, and generate a 3D video to keep and re-watch on their phone. And that's not all. There are 3D drawing tools to design characters from scratch, an option to add yourself or friends to the story by importing images, soundtracks, three different story arcs (short story, classic, and science report), and more. Read More