Exploring KidZui, the Internet for Kids

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These days, everyone’s looking for the safest way to let their kids go online. Adults have an array of internet browsers, social media sites and search services, but what about kids? Enter KidZui

KidZui is a web browser and social media app for kids to browse a safe internet. It’s “fun for kids, and smart for parents.” KidZui has content from Aardvarks to Zebras, Art to Science and Music, soccer, games and everything else that kids are learning about, including the largest number of Web sites, games, videos and photos relevant to kids, anywhere.

KidZui is free BUT (of course) “kids get even more fun and parents get more tools with a paid membership.”

Kids can explore over a million kid-friendly games, websites, pictures and YouTube videos:

* Create and customize your own Zui avatar
* Explore parent-approved content, community and friends
* Share and tag content with friends with illustrated ratings like “best”, “cool”, “boring” and “gross”
* Search the Web with visual search tools and a “kidrank” system

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Smart tools for parents help you stay in touch with your kid’s evolving interests:

* View your kid’s online activities with easy online parental controls
* Moderate, filter, block and add pages like school websites, family blogs, etc.
* Share content with your kids
* Access detailed reports like weekly e-mails on your kid’s activity

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Mashable writer Mark Hopkins let his son AJ test out KidZui

Overall, he seemed to enjoy the experience, giving it an 8/10 overall. There were a couple usability issues… but AJ seemed to enjoy the experience. He’s been begging me to give the laptop back to him so he can play with it some more ever since.

From an adult perspective, it seemed like the sort of kids program we can turn him loose on and not have to worry, though it would only really keep him occupied for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time before he really needed help getting into one thing or another that he wanted to do. Still, the system seems designed to be kid-proof, trapping all the function and control keys so that you don’t need to worry about the computer being destroyed when you get back.

The Walt Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg talks about KidZui’s search system –

When a child types in a term like “ocean” KidZui offers a list of related terms as well, to guide further exploration. If a child types in a search term or a Web address that has been banned from the KidZui universe, a message appears saying “This page isn’t available on KidZui, but your parents can add it for you.” This applies not only to terms typed into KidZui’s own search bar, but also to terms a child enters at sites like Wikipedia or in the search boxes embedded in other sites. The main pages of Google and Yahoo can’t be summoned…

I did find some holes in this system. For instance, I was able to get to The Wall Street Journal’s Web site and do an internal search on “Spitzer,” which turned up a story on the former New York governor’s scandal…

Finally, TechCrunch talks about KidZui’s social features

There’s also a social networking facet to Kidzui, but it too has been designed with safety in mind. Kids can set up their own avatars (”zuis”) and make friends with other users. But all friends must be approved by parents first, and there’s no messaging between friends; they can only share rated content with each other and view each others’ points (kids garner points as they spend time on the site)…. Overall, KidZui is the first offering I’ve seen that virtually guarantees kids’ safety and provides them with a portal into the best parts of the web.

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