Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Sky Kids app- freeing up the TV for me!

I am a bit of an expert on Adventure Time and could probably go on Mastermind answering questions on The Regular Show since these two shows are most commonly playing on our TV.

Jake the Dog Adventure Time


I can sing the theme tune from Adventure Time but can't name a single song in the UK top ten chart. That's how often we watch it.

Although we have Sky Go, the mobile app for watching Sky on devices I confess I've never used it. But the latest innovation from Sky, the new Sky Kids app has proved to be an absolute life-saver especially during the soggy Easter holidays.

Sky Kids

The app was released last week and looked almost too good to be true. I decided to thoroughly test the app (or rather get Grumpy to test it) before writing about it and after just over a week I can wholeheartedly recommend it.

Free to Sky customers with the variety package (or higher) the app is available through the Apple app store or Google Play t onto download tablets. You can't download the app onto smartphones - a decision taken by Sky after extensive research into how and where people watch.

You need a Sky ID (just create one online if you don't already have one) and the app provides a simple, straightforward and safe way for the younger members of the household to enjoy their favourite shows whenever and wherever they want (as long as there's wifi although the option to download rather than stream shows is in the pipeline apparently!)

Sky kids app

It's very easy to use with swipe, tap and pinch actions which are familiar to even very young children nowadays. Designed in consultation with children and parents the app offers a variety of ways to choose programmes themed by channel, character or even the season.

You can filter channels for children or allow them to watch the full range of kids programming.  What's great is once it's set up you know the children are safe to browse independently. This is far preferable to letting them watch episodes via Youtube which is only ever three clicks away from highly inappropriate grimness.

I'm not saying it's great parenting to leave your child unsupervised with a tablet all the time - I love watching with my children and talking about what we are watching, but lets be honest most of us at some time are grateful for the electronic babysitter. 

child watching Sky Kids via app

My youngest has sensory issues and several times in the last week the app, often combined with special children's headphones with noise-limiter, have helped him chill at times where he might have become overwhelmed by stuff going on around him.

Parental controls are very simple to set up and you can create accounts for up to 10 children who can choose their own "buddy" icon. In future Sky plans to create more interaction options with the Buddies and bring in a bedtime setting which prepares the viewer for an imminent close-down hopefully cutting out any tantrums.

You can register up to two compatible devices (tablets) for the Sky Kids App per Sky login ID. If you have Sky Go and Sky Kids on one tablet it counts as one compatible device.

All the children's favourites are there from Peppa Pig to Jake the Human (Adventure Time) and there will also be original programming (Morf is back with a brand new show!) and exclusive shows to come.

Our verdict? A must-have app for anyone with young children. Grumpy happily sits with us watching his shows via the app while we enjoy non-Adventure Time based programming on the TV!

Finn the Human, The Ice King, Lumpy Space Princess

Disclaimer: I attended a launch event for this app but received no recompense to write about it.

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