Love handing your phone to your kids to keep them entertained, but worry about what they can access? Kid Mode from Zoodles can help. Read on for the full story.
Ask any parent and they’ll tell you: their young kids love playing games and watching videos on their smartphones. While it’s great to be able to hand over your phone and let your children play, how can you be sure that those little fingers won’t accidentally do something they shouldn’t? And, more importantly, should your smartphone be more than just a distraction?
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HTC believes it has the answer to both these questions with Kid Mode by Zoodles – a mobile app that transforms your smartphone into an educational and completely safe environment. We’ve been talking to both HTC’s Yves Lejan and Zoodles’ Ted Lai to find out more…
Kid Mode: Put your phone on lockdown
“Zoodles created an app that offers a ‘Kid Mode’,” says Ted. “It’s a safe, fun and portable learning environment for children. It’s available on HTC phones as well as all Android phones and tablets. There’s also a version for iOS, and there’s a PC version too, but the vast majority of our users use it on their phones.”
The Kid Mode app was first created in 2008 by father Mark Williamson, with the aim of building software that could adapt computers to better suit children, rather than continue to watch his daughter struggle to adapt to use the family laptop.
“Six years ago, Kid Mode by Zoodles was primarily a web service for PCs,” Ted explains. “The company’s founders thought that they didn’t want their kids surfing around the internet unchecked, so they decided to design a kid-safe piece of software to solve that problem. When the iPhone and Android smartphones launched, we soon realised that the time was right to move the platform to mobile.”
Not long after this transition, Taiwanese mobile giant HTC swooped in and bought the software. As a result, Kid Mode now comes pre-installed on all HTC smartphones, allowing parents to quickly set up parameters that limit the bits of the phone that their children can access.
“We at HTC really wanted to make it convenient for parents to let their kids enjoy smartphones,” Yves explains. That’s a noble intention, but HTC’s interest in Kid Mode runs deeper than just locking down your smartphone. The real benefit is in its curated content…
Every day’s a school day
“What we like most about Zoodles is the curated experience that Kid Mode provides – not just the fact that the key features are locked away,” Yves tells us. “There’s quality, curated content designed for kids of all ages to help them learn and play.
“I really appreciate that I can give my device to my children and know that they’re learning…”
“Education is a very important factor for us,” he adds, “and that’s why we wanted to partner with Zoodles. As a parent myself, I really appreciate that I can give my device to my children and know that they’re learning – not just watching YouTube videos. Also, the fact that it’s a curated environment adds to its safety.”
So what exactly is on offer when it comes to Zoodles’ curated content? Well, alongside a raft of educational games designed specifically for each age group, Kid Mode boasts digital storybooks, bespoke, age-appropriate videos and interactive creative tools like the Zoodles Art Studio. It also lets parents add in favourite videos, apps and games from the rest of the phone, and features a Parent Dashboard to let them keep up to date with which apps, videos and games their kids are using or watching the most.
“We feel that parents, in addition to wanting a safe environment, are also curious as to whether kids are just wasting time on digital devices,” Ted says. “We firmly believe that by providing a learning environment we’re providing a lot more value, as well as adding to parents’ peace of mind.”
“We try to do everything we can to make sure there’s additional value with things like Zoodles,” Yves adds. “That helps kids learn as well as play.” And there’s even more to come…
“We’re working on a full redesign of Kid Mode which will be coming towards the end of this year,” says Ted. “It’ll feature a completely new user interface and will be even more geared towards learning. There are other companies doing somewhat simpler versions of what we’re doing, but we believe that the combination of learning, safety and fun is what makes us unique.”
Smart and safe. We’ll be catching up with Ted when the next iteration of Kid Mode lands, but in the meantime you can get more information on Kid Mode by Zoodles, and download it for free, right here. Got a new HTC smartphone? Kid Mode will be built right in. You can check out our full range of HTC smartphones here.