Child’s Place app solves Carousel, purchasing problems
I’ve looked for parental control apps for the Kindle Fire before, and haven’t found something that worked.
Today, I found this:
It may have been there before and I’d missed it…or they may have just made it available for the Fire. It has a release date of October 19, 2011, but you can’t really tell from that.
This free app addresses many concerns people have with the Kindle Fire, and greatly increases its value.
The idea is simple: instead of opening to your homescreen, it opens to a different screen…and just the apps you want to allow are on there. If you want to go somewhere else, you enter a PIN (Personal Identification Number).
Once you launch it, it stays there, unless you choose to exit (and you need to enter the PIN for that as well). That’s even if you shut down the Kindle Fire and restart it.
Boom! Problems solved!
I set it up with just a few apps, to test it out. I had the ability to turn off the wireless…yep, no going to websites, no going to the stores to buy from Amazon.
One cool thing I could do was add the Launcher app. That let me go from the Kid’s Place setting to the regular homescreen (yes, that would show the Carousel). I couldn’t open any unauthorized apps, though, but I could open books and read them (if I allowed the Amazon Kindle app…if not, I blocked that as well).
It’s astonishingly simple and effective.
It’s only a four-digit numeric PIN, so it’s certainly not hacker proof, but it should generally serve the purpose…it even offers to e-mail you the PIN you set so you won’t forget it…that’s a nice touch.
Here are some good uses I see for it:
- You can hide the launcher, and no one can see your Carousel
- You can hide apps that may have personal information
- You can allow just the videos you want, and no streaming
- You can prevent all purchasing
- You can prevent web browsing
I haven’t had a chance to test it much, but there seem like a lot of possible configurations.
However, it isn’t the most intuitive program ever.
The most confusing thing was that I went to Select Apps and picked the ones I wanted…but there was no “done” or “accept” button. I tried to go Home, thinking if I left the program it would save my choices…but it didn’t do that. Instead, it bounced me back to the program and said I didn’t have anything selected (although I did). The answer to that one? Pick the ones you want to allow, then use the Back arrow at the bottom of the screen.
Enabling Airplane Mode in the Settings is what turns off the web browser. ..I think I would have called it something clearer, like “Turn Off the Web Browser”.
The “Exit” option is only available from the Kid’s Space screen…not from the Settings screen, for example.
Those in no way outweigh the value of this app. It may be have enhanced the value of the Kindle Fire more than anything else in the Amazon appstore.
One caution: I haven’t used it much, so I can’t vouch for the stability (but Amazon has approved it for the Fire, so that means it’s been tested(. I put the Amazon Kindle app in Kid’s Place and it launched once…and then not again. Having the Launcher app in there, though, enabled me to open books.
This is something they probably can’t control at this point, but the ideal thing would be able to put specific books into Kid’s Place, so you could prevent kids from seeing the Carousel in order to read books. Again, that doesn’t overwhelm the positive…it would just make it even better.
This says it’s a Beta version, so it may not be around for long…if you do try it out, feel free to let me know what you think.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.