KIT TO GET THE KIDS SAFELY ONLINE...
FROM A TOP TABLET TO A SMASHING SMARTWATCH, YOU WON’T NEED TO WORRY WITH THESE GREAT GADGETS
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.
FIRE HD 10 KIDS EDITION
From amazon.co.uk, £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 vodafone.co.uk, £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