She recently received (much to her father’s delight) the very super cool Leap Frog ClickStart from her uncle.
With a full qwerty keyboard and mouse, this thing is a bad mammajamma. I began to think of how cool it would be if by the time she was three should could type 60 wpm… wouldn’t that be sweet?
Check out their promo vid for it too: “Because at Leap Frog, we believe that kids don’t just grow up, they think up”:
But, taking it one step further… Social Networking for a 3 year old?
Enter KidZui, the so-called kid-friendly browser that launched last March, which has updated their biz model to subscription service to a “freemium” one, which means I could easily download the app and try it out without forking over some of my cash.
I must admit, before I even started, I was very hesitant to install new software on my computer (I’m very protective of my box), but I’m glad I did.
So here, my friends, is a pictorial walk through of KidZui. You can thank me later for saving you the process of downloading, installing, registering new software on your box.
What you’ll be able to see is the some of the first start pages, some of the profile pages, the process of starting up, parental access and controls, some of the content available, Hannah Montana (an obvious “ok” and “whitelisted” site), their business model, as well as user data reports on your kid.
And lookit! “Roenne” was not taken.
So, what’s the deal? There’s a lot to be discussed, and as TechCrunch rightly mentioned:
There are obvious safety concerns when developing a product that helps kids communicate with others online, especially since it’s nearly impossible to ensure that their online buddies are indeed kids with benign intentions themselves. So, unlike Facebook – which lets its users share extensive personal details, write on each others’ walls, and send free-form messages – KidZui doesn’t enable explicit forms of communication at all.
Rather, KidZui’s social networking features mainly allow users to share their surfing behavior with friends passively. Each user has an event feed that shows when friends sign on and off, visit each others’ profiles, tag content on the web, create content channels, and friend each other. Users can also “ping” each other and post status messages, but they must be selected from a premade list of options.
In addition, how does this shape and form my daughters world view? On one hand, I’m going to protect her from as much as I can (in wisdom) as she ventures into the online space because it is, without question, a dangerous internet. On the other hand, does “shielding” her from the “real” internet do more harm than good?
It’s a bit of the old “be in the world but not of it” question perhaps.
Maybe I’ll just stick to Leap Frog.