With over 50 million students not going to school in the United States, quarantine is taking over our lives. We are all staying at home, spending more time than usual using our phones and tablets and this is especially the case for youngsters. This case raises the problem of parents in this age and time having the heavy responsibility of keeping their kids safe online.
Children now have access to the world wide web in the palm of their hands. Nonetheless, the majority of the content available offline is far from being child-friendly. That leaves parents with a mission to filter the content their children come across which is a hectic task that not all parents can keep up with. You might find your child playing a game on their phone that seems harmless without noticing the kind of ads the app runs and their data collection policies.
Google’s Kid Friendly Content
Some companies are trying to make it easier for guardians to determine whether an app is appropriate or not by providing authenticated kid-friendly content. One of those companies is Google. With an abundance of apps on the Google Play Store, Google made a section that is specific for children. It can be found under the Kids section on the Play Store. Not only are the apps in the Kids section age-appropriate, but they are also entertaining, educational, and enriching to our children’s brains. This gives an opportunity to make children subconsciously learn while playing on their phones.
Google collaborated with a number of education experts such as a Harvard Graduate of School of Education Joe Blatt along with more than 200 teachers in order to filter apps based on certain criteria that make the app both fun and helps improve children’s mental skills. For three years, teachers have been working to define the criteria of a kids-friendly app such as age, appeal, and educational impact. Another important thing they keep in mind is what regulations they need, especially regarding what kind of ads are included in these apps. The experts’ effort has led to a reliable rating system that makes it easy for teachers to see if an app meets the criteria or not. If it does, the app gets a Teacher Approved badge.
How to Download Teacher Approved Apps
- Go to the Google Play store.
- Under the search bar, you will find tabs of different app categories, slide until you find the Kids section.
- Open any app and check if it has the Teacher Approved badge.
When you find a teacher-approved app, you will find a list of why this app was chosen by experts such as being educational and promoting creativity and imagination. The groups are also grouped into three groups based on age (5 & under, ages 6-8, ages 9-12).
This is a relatively new feature. There are currently around 1,000 Teacher Approved apps in the Play Store. If you want to take it a step further, join Google Play Pass for extra apps not available on the regular store. Google promises to add more Teacher Approved apps gradually.
The way technology is integrated into our kids’ everyday lives can be utilized to make technology a source of enlightenment. That is what Google is taking the initiative to do. This Google Play Store feature is worth the praise as it is a step toward an internet that caters to a large portion of its audience which is children below 12 years old. The Kids tab, along with the Teacher Approved apps, were announced to be available in the US starting from the second half of April 2020. Google states that after the US, they will expand the feature internationally to eventually become available everywhere.