Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
As parents, it’s our job to make sure that our kids learn how to be safe at all times whether they’re crossing the street, playing with friends, or online. KidZui, the company that has one of the most popular kid-safe downloadable internet browsers announced the launch of a new mobile app that is designed to keep children safe when accessing content on the go. This new app will be available for iOS download on Apple’s App Store on Thursday, November 14 and will available for Android soon too.
“After months of preparation, planning and research, we are thrilled with the results of the updated version of KidZui and are overjoyed with launch of the first-ever KidZui mobile app,” said Ryan Bettencourt, Vice President of Online for Saban Brands and one of the Founders of Zui.com and KidZui. “It’s important that we continue to keep the Internet safe for children while also making it fun and easy to use. The mobile app extends KidZui’s parameters, providing parents with the same assurances both at home and on the go.”
With safety being at the forefront of parents’ minds when it comes to content and our kids, I talked to Bettancourt about mobile devices, ways to teach our kids about safe searching habits as they grow beyond KidZui, and the things that parents need to be mindful about with safe searching as their kids increase the use of mobile devices to access content.
Tech Savvy Parents (TSP): With mobile devices being much more prevalent in our kids’ lives, this is an exciting announcement. What are some key things that kids need to know about searching in any browser via desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices?
Ryan Bettancourt (RB): We believe that the big things kids need in searching in a browser is an experience that is built specifically for kids. Kids generally don’t have the same intent that adults do in searching. Adults go into a web browser and search engine with specific goals in mind. Kids don’t do so to the same degree. Therefore, the browsing and search experience needs to address that. KidZui was built from the ground up for readers and non-readers alike and with a focus on how kids search and discover things online in a different way. Frankly, opening a Google prompt that returns a million text results in a nanosecond isn’t important to a kid. What is important to a kid is that they can discover things they didn’t even know they were interested in and do so in an intuitive and graphical way.
In searching in any browser, kids need to know:
- How to distinguish ads from non-paid content
- A general idea of what they are looking for
- How to conduct a search and use it to also find related content
TSP: KidZui becomes a trusted way to search in households for kids as they get started being online. At some point, families need to transition away from it. How can parents help their children learn to be better searchers since it’s an important skill in today’s digital age?
RB: We have often said that KidZui is web browsing on training wheels. Just like you use training wheels on a bike to learn balance and how to turn and navigate, you need the same online. Technology is only going to become more important in the world in the future and empowering kids with skills to use technology for learning, discovering passions and communicating is critical.
Parents can help their kids by sitting with them as they get used to searching and teaching them to understand how to create proper searches. They can also help kids understand websites and typical website navigational elements so that kids can easily navigate for the information they are seeking.
One important thing parents can do is sit with their kids as they use the internet (on KidZui or elsewhere) to do research on a specific topic. For example, if a kid has a report due on insects, a parent can work with a child to conduct that research, extrapolate the right information, store information for later, copy and paste, and so on.
Finally, parents can help kids to learn how to store/favorite/bookmark content so that they can get back to their favorite things easily.
TSP: As a technology company that always keeps kids’ safety in mind, what do you see as things that parents need to be mindful of beyond safe search?
RB: At KidZui, our passion has always been to allow kids to safely discover the best things online. We believe that enabling great “discovery” shouldn’t be sacrificed in an effort to be safe. They have to be in equal parts.
I think the real thing parents have to understand is that search and communication have radically changed. Google and Bing aren’t the only way kids are searching these days. They use YouTube, Facebook (older kids), Instagram (older kids) and others to search. Those are effectively search engines in themselves. And, those environments can also quickly lead a child to inappropriate and irrelevant content. It’s important that parents be active in helping their children learn how to navigate all platforms in an appropriate way.
And of course, within a smartphone or tablet app environment, parents also need to be mindful of how kids are using those apps.
TSP: What’s next for KidZui in this ever-changing world of technology?
RB: We have explored many different opportunities and are currently figuring out where we want to put our energy next. We certainly need to create an Android tablet version of our KidZui app and figure out what a mobile phone version is like.
Kids using mobile devices via ShutterstockAdd a Comment