My little boy Olly has an increasing interest in technology and for a three year old, he has an amazing knack of being able to use the television remote with ease. For a while now, he’s become fascinated with our tablets and as both hubby and I both own and use iPads regularly, he’s wanted to explore what’s on them and play with them himself. His experience so far has been fairly limited to using child friendly apps and watching endless toy videos on YouTube, but there’s going to come a point where his curiosity will take him further and he’ll want to explore some more.
Azoomee is a new app to launch on tablets for both iOS and Android. It’s a platform designed especially for children to keep them entertained but with a safety element attached where parental control is exercised. Parents set up the app with a password and then add a child account to the app. This can be done quickly within a few minutes.
The platform features a wide range of content within five main themes; Watch, Play, Create, Listen, Share and Chat. The app which launched just last week, has over 400 episodes of child-friendly viewing including Angry Birds Toons, The Jungle Bunch and unique content from ZSL London Zoo.
We all know how children get bored quickly so there’s lots of fun to be had with on Azoomee as well as the Art Studio where children can create drawings and pictures as well as opportunities for children to watch tutorials to copy and create exciting crafts.
There’s also the opportunity for children to be able to start talking to friends and relatives safely online, friend requests have to be approved by both sets of parents and all messages can be read in the parent app giving complete transparency. We haven’t used this feature yet as Olly cannot read or write but I like the concept and would be happy to give him the chance to talk to approved friends via the app in the future.
I was pleased to hear that all content on Azoomee has been approved by education and children’s media experts so I can be rest assured that the things Olly will watch is suitable. Azoomee has been created for primary school aged children between 5 years plus and give them their first introduction to a digital world. Olly is obviously a lot younger than the target age for the app but I do think there’s the opportunity to reach out to younger children with Azoomee. Without launching into the debate about young children and the use of screens, I like that the app can be controlled with parental guidance and it’s a great way to introduce them to being online without worrying about the content they are going to see.
Azoomee is used in a custom launcher on Android and is best used in Guided Access mode for iOS as it asks for a password (which parents can set) to discourage them leaving the app and viewing unapproved content elsewhere on the internet. It’s worth noting there’s no in-app purchases required or no advertisements either so the content children will see is relevant and safe.
Everyone who signs up to Azoomee is automatically given a free 15-day trial with premium features available via a monthly subscription of £4.99 which can be cancelled at any time. It’s good to know that Azoomee also donates 20p for every subscription to the NSPCC who have consulted with Azoomee on the app to ensure that children can have fun but can learn to stay safe online.
The only downside of Azoomee for me is that you need an internet connection to be able to use the app so children couldn’t use it outside of the house unless you have a data package attached to your tablet. We only use wi-fi with our tablets so taking it in the car or away with us on holiday isn’t an option but possibly a development for the app in the future.
Our short experience of using Azoomee has been very positive. Olly has enjoyed watching some of the videos and has loved the Art Studio painting and creating pictures. I would encourage any parent to download the free app and encourage safe screen time with their children. You can download Azoomee for your tablet here.
Emma Shilton, is a UK Family Lifestyle blogger from the West Midlands, UK, Emma is Mummy to two little boys; Olly aged 5 and Freddie born in January 2018. The blog follows their adventures as they capture life as a family of four.