When I last checked, there were half a million apps published (and climbing rapidly) in the App Store alone. For Android, Google Play also is well populated. But surprisingly among the 20 categories in the App Store there was none specifically marked for children. So, if you are searching for apps tailor made for children, you have to hunt around in the categories like Education, Book, Entertainment, and Games. You have to read reviews, check ratings and then download it for your child to enjoy on the iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. Games, alone has 100,000+ apps, so good luck with that.
So, where do you go to ensure that your child has a kid-friendly experience on an iPad? These three services (among a few more) help out by sifting through the clutter and giving you personalized recommendations on the best apps to choose for your children for both iOS and Android smart devices.
The About page on Fingerprint says that every app is selected with the right mix of educational and fun elements. Fingerprint provides personalized games for children of all ages that they can play on an iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Fingerprint connects parents and the child through a fun mobile learning experience. Starting from the apps which are recommended by the service, you can get feedback into what your child is playing and learning. Fingerprint has a feature that allows parents to send audio messages for encouragement to the child and receive replies too.
Here are some key features:
- Parents use The Play Center as a mobile dashboard that connects them to the apps.
- The SnapShot is like a news feed that helps parents learn what their child is playing (and learning).
- Parents can encourage and engage with their children via The Mom-Comm in-App voice messages.
There are 14 games on offer right now but most of them are free. You get personalized game recommendations via Facebook and email too.
Famigo is also a recommendation service for discovering child safe apps for both Android and iOS. The Famigo Sandbox is a special parental control app for Android (the Apple version is not ready yet) that turns any Android phone or tablet into a safe, kid-friendly environment. For instance, it limits device features that might be harmful for kids, like blocking purchases, calls, texts, and email.
On the face of it, Famigo resembles an alternate app market with search filters. You can filter by age and do a Power Search which is an advanced search with loads of options. The difference is that apps on Famigo are rated according to how appropriate for families.
Here are some more key features:
- You’ll only find apps rated 3 stars or higher on Famigo.com.
- The Famigo Sandbox is also an app discovery engine for parents too.
- SandBox has a feedback mechanism with weekly reports of the apps their kids use and the amount of time spent on them.
The husband-wife team behind this startup are parents too. So, their mission was to create not only a simple app recommendation service, but also a more holistic application that could serve to give parents information on how their child is progressing while playing a particular educational app. The personalized app recommendations based on their child’s specific learning needs or interests is just one side of the coin on YogiPlay.
Parents can find apps suitable for their children here. If you are one, you can join for free and have your own YogiPlay Parent Center account. YogiPlay works with app developers to create ‘Boosted Apps’ that generally helps the site and parents collect information on a child’s learning needs and suggest other apps that the child might enjoy.
Feedback parents get pertains to:
- How much time are they spending on educational apps?
- What types of apps are they playing with?
- Custom, age-appropriate app recommendations.
- Children collect points and can redeem them for cute virtual pets in YogiWorld.
- Parents can track progress through personalized reports.
Not all apps are ‘boosted’ by YogiPlay and you are free to pick and choose just as you would on the App Store or on Google Play. YogiPlay recommends paid and free apps for both.
There are other alternative app markets and discovery services for kids like Kindertown which we covered in our directory. As a responsible parent, what do you think of this more socially responsible face of app marketing? Do you have another service which you would like to recommend?