Llanelli Star - - Tech Now -

LIKE most par­ents, I imag­ine, I’ve al­ways been a lit­tle bit wary of al­low­ing my child to get plugged in to the in­ter­net. Bad things are in there.

Still, now that he’s 17 I don’t have a whole lot of choice – by that age you’re ei­ther in, or you’re very much out.

But what about younger chil­dren? Ones who are not nec­es­sar­ily go­ing to be wor­ried about how many likes their lat­est In­sta­gram got, or keep­ing up with their Snapchat streaks.

Is there a safe place – a way to take ad­van­tage of all the knowl­edge and all the joy that can be found on­line?

Well, as it hap­pens, yes. There is. A cou­ple of prod­ucts – the Fire HD 10 Kids Edi­tion from Ama­zon, and the V-Kids Smart­watch from Voda­fone – are help­ing to con­nect chil­dren to a small, safe, and care­fully cu­rated cor­ner of the in­ter­net.


From ama­, £199 IT MIGHT not look like it, clad as it is in a mas­sive pink or blue case, but what you’re ac­tu­ally get­ting here is a fully-fea­tured, bona fide, Fire 10 HD tablet.

It’s the largest, most ex­pen­sive, and best tablet Ama­zon of­fers – it has a 10.1in 1080p Full HD dis­play (1920 x 1200), 32 GB in­ter­nal stor­age, and up to 10 hours of mixed-use bat­tery life. With a mi­croSD card you can get up to 256 GB of stor­age.

You can add your chil­dren as users with spe­cial chil­dren’s pro­files and con­trol the amount of time they use the tablet, and what they can see.

What’s spe­cial about the kids edi­tion (apart from that it comes with that case, which Ama­zon calls “kid proof”) is that its price in­cludes a year of ac­cess to Fire for Kids Un­lim­ited – so they can down­load and en­joy a range of more than 5,000 apps, games, books and videos without spend­ing an­other penny.

A sub­scrip­tion to that ser­vice costs from £1.99-a-month (which you’ll have to pay to con­tinue once the year’s up).

It’s a de­cent deal, but it gets even bet­ter when you con­sider that the tablet also comes with an un­lim­ited two-year war­ranty. So if it gets bro­ken, for what­ever rea­son, you can send it back and Ama­zon will sort it for free (I ex­pect that’s why the case is so ro­bust and chunky).

Your chil­dren can ac­cess the in­ter­net via a built-in browser, but it’s heav­ily cu­rated, and only a very lim­ited set of web­sites can be ac­cessed (al­though you can whitelist any you see fit).

All in all, it’s a good pack­age for kids – it’s ob­vi­ous Ama­zon has taken help­ing you keep them safe se­ri­ously, and has put some very pow­er­ful tools to do just that in your hands.

Yet the ed­u­ca­tional value of a tablet like this has not been di­luted one bit, and, thank­fully, nei­ther has the fun part.

When they’ve gone to bed, you can log-in your­self and use the tablet as a fully fledged Fire 10 HD without re­stric­tion.


From voda­, £135 (plus £4-per-month sub­scrip­tion) THE new V-Kids Watch is part of Voda­fone’s se­lec­tion of smart con­nected de­vices – and it’s a cracker.

You might not like the idea of a tra­di­tional smart­watch, which in­vari­ably of­fers many ways to con­nect to the out­side world and all that can bring. But the V-Kids is dif­fer­ent – like the Fire 10 HD it in­cludes only a small, care­fully cu­rated set of fea­tures, which are de­signed to help you keep your chil­dren safe and con­nected… but only con­nected with you and up to four other peo­ple of your choice.

It fea­tures GPS track­ing, so you can al­ways keep an eye on where they are via an app on your smart­phone. You can even set a “safe space” within which they can play, and the watch will no­tify you if they stray be­yond.

You can com­mu­ni­cate with them via the watch, too – you can record and send voice mes­sages of up to 30 sec­onds in length to each other.

If any of their friends have a V-Kids they can use the same sys­tem to keep in touch with them (al­though you can mon­i­tor and dis­able any con­nec­tions you don’t want).

There are some fun fea­tures in the form of a few games, but also use­ful func­tional fea­tures like a cal­cu­la­tor.

You can also set re­minders for them, so they re­mem­ber their home­work, or what time they need to be home.

Strict timers can also be set, so you can dis­able the dis­trac­tions while they are at school, for ex­am­ple.

There’s also a big SOS but­ton on the side of the watch that they can press and hold for five sec­onds to alert you to the fact they need help.

You’ll also be able to find them eas­ily enough on the map on your app.

Again, like the Fire HD 10, the V-Kids of­fers all the fea­tures you’d want from a smart­watch for your chil­dren, and none that you don’t.

The V-Kids Watch is packed with safety fea­tures

The Fire HD 10 Kids Edi­tion is a great op­tion for young ones

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.