In my last post, I discussed the perils of little ones having free rein on unprotected tablets. I talked about how iOS parental controls can to some extent realised through restriction settings built into the OS.
The Android OS has a range of solutions for this problem. Android natively has support for multiple users, but to make it as straight forward as possible, I would recommend a product called Kid’s Place by a company called Kiddoware.
This is a free app available from the Google Play Store, as well as from the Amazon App store.
Briefly it is able to
- show a custom home screen
- display only apps that parents have authorized
- prevent children from buying or downloading new apps
- block incoming calls on phones when Kids Home is running
- disable all wireless signals while Kids Home is running to avoid exposure to cell phone, wifi and Bluetooth radiation
- restart apps accidentally stopped by small children
- add a Timer feature to lock Kids Place after specified amount of time.
You can check out the features of the app from the Kiddoware site itself – http://kiddoware.com/app/kids-place-parental-control-for-android-devices/
It has a rating of 4.3 on the Play Store from over 5000 reviews and has been installed between 500,000 and 1,000,000 installs.A few people ran across some hardware incompatibility issues it would seem or couldn’t quite suss the app.
I have tried it personally and found
- it didn’t crash the tablet ( some fairly generic, low-spec hardware)
- it was easy to setup
- it worked as advertised – our young one (4) couldn’t break out of it nor did she want to. It had all her apps right there and was obviously kid friendly.
- it maybe needed a little bit of sprucing up in the graphics aspect – background images available were pretty uninspired
- the documention is a bit sparse
Interestingly, you can buy a tablet with Kid’s Place pre-installed ( at least in Australia). Unfortunately it is paired with awful, old and underpowered hardware that I would not wish on anyone.
Judge for yourself based on my earlier advice about how to read specs. My opinions are in bold.
- Operating System: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. – too old
- Memory: 512MB SDRAM – too little
- Storage: 4GB NAND Flash. – too little
- Screen: 7” LCD, 16:9, 800 x 480 resolution. – too crappy
- Camera: 0.3MP Front, 2.0MP Rear Digital Cameras -too crappy
- I/O Ports: 1x Micro USB port, 1x Headphone jack, 1x DC IN jack, 1x microSD slot (maximum capacity 32GB). no HDMI
Kids do know when a tablet is too sluggish to work in an acceptable manner. I would strongly recommend that you buy a better tablet and install Kid’s Place yourself.