Zoodles review: Does it do the job for Kindle Fire parental controls issue? I decided to take a look at the Zoodles app for Kindle Fire. I was presently surprised at some of the nice options it includes. But Zoodles isn’t a fix all. I’ll explain in detail.
Amazon Prime and Zoodles: Is it a Parental Controls Match?
This week I downloaded the Zoodles children’s browser to my Kindle Fire in hopes that it would solve the lack of parental controls issue for Amazon Prime members.
Zoodles is cross platform downloadable browser application for kids with a customizable parental controls feature. It also comes with a pricey premium. The company website claims it works on all kinds of devices: android mobile phones, the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, as well as on your favorite PC or Mac. Users can manage their account on unlimited devices, too. This makes it handy for large families and for those that to travel to grandma’s quite a bit. Their team scours the internet for appropriate online educational games and videos for kids between 3-8 years old. It creates a customized browser experience for each child in your house based on their age and abilities. In addition, premium parents can choose what kinds of games they would like to see more of, and what games they would like to block.
There is a violence scale of 1-5 that can be set for each child. There is also a convenient character blocking setting if you are not too enthralled with iCarly or the Suite Life of Zac and Cody. You can even block Boohbah or any other cartoon character that either annoys you or doesn’t interest your child.
So, will Zoodles Android app solve Kindle Fire parental controls issue?
My answer is: A big fat maybe.
Here are the Zoodles for Kindle Fire Pros:
- It blocks all content to the web that is inappropriate for kids.
- It has a lock button feature that will not allow kids to access anything outside of Zoodles on the device once it is activated. Parents can access the device by typing in either their birth year (4 digit pin) or by drawing the letter “Z” on the screen and tapping the back button twice.
- Zoodles allows parents to turn on certain apps so that their child can access it through their customizable browser. This is handy if your child likes Angry Birds or Plants versus Zombies.
- Zoodles keeps track of your kids’ activities and gives you a report of what they’ve done.
- Zoodles lets you add websites that you think are appropriate for your child.
- Because the Kindle Fire is an Android device, Zoodles will provide the flash games for your children to play.
Here are the Zoodles for Kindle Fire Cons:
- While Amazon users are able to activate the Amazon MP3 app and the Amazon Videos app from inside their customizable browser, you cannot access your Kindle books. So if you are buying this device instead of a Nintendo D.S. because you want your child to have access to good books on the go, this is a major flaw in the Kindle Fire Android device. In order for your child to view the books you will need to give them full access to the device. This is fine if you plan to read aloud to your kids, but not so great if you have an 8 year old that is fully able to read on his own.
- If you choose to activate the Amazon Videos app they will have access to the full library. I activated the Amazon Videos app from within the Zoodles browser on my Kindle Fire device. While in Kid Safe Mode on the Kindle Fire I was able to download and view The Last of the Mohicans (which is rated R) without having to supply a four digit pin either through Zoodles or Amazon.
- While Zoodles offers videos within their browser for kids to view on the Kindle Fire, there isn’t capability to browse YouTube videos that are appropriate for kids. Our kids play musical instruments and they enjoy watching performance videos and teaching videos on YouTube.
- The Zoodles Mail feature is for video mail only. Since Kindle Fire does not have a video camera kids can receive video emails but they cannot respond on the android device. I, for one, would love to see the option for kids to type an email to their grandparents, cousins, each other, and their parents. It is a great way to practice writing skills.
Here’s my Bottom line on using Zoodles to Solve Kindle Fire Parental Controls Issue:
If you are planning to purchase the Kindle Fire and are looking for a work-around that will make the device more user-friendly for your children, Zoodles may be an option. I hesitate to recommend them wholeheartedly, especially since I tried contacting the company through multiple emails and by telephone with no luck. Customer service isn’t a strong suite at their company headquarters in Mountain View, CA. I wanted to get a better picture on what they are willing and able to do for Kindle Fire users in the near and distant future. I sent a letter asking if they have contacted Amazon about working together. I asked if they were tweaking the software to solve the lack of parental controls on Kindle Fire. I’ve gotten no response yet. Having said that, I still believe that their software is a better than nothing solution for the die hard Kindle fan who wants to give their young child a Kindle Fire for Christmas this year. I just hope that the Amazon people and the Zoodles people can get together and talk to each other about solving these issues. I’m not sure how likely that is, after all, since Amazon isn’t communicating all that well with their customers.
Update: Users can set Parental Controls through DNS too.
Kindle Fire users can create custom internet filtering through their home WiFi network on their child’s device as a way to better solve the Kindle Fire parental controls issue. To find out more in a step by step tutorial, please visit: Set Internet Parental Controls on Your Child’s iPad or Kindle Fire