The more we use our smartphones and tablets, the more our kids will want to do the same. However, its probably not a great idea to simply give your child a tablet with a connection to the internet and say 'knock yourself out', as the internet... well... has 'certain areas' that might not be ideal for kids to visit. With that in mind we take a look at the Kurio TAB 2; a tablet designed for kids.
This isn't merely an Android tablet that has been stuck inside child-friendly bumpers; the whole operating system has been geared up to keeping the wee ones safe while online. This is done by creating a parent profile, control of which only mum and dad can have. There you can set restrictions over what kind of content and sites your child can visit by applying certain filters; some of which are pre-programmed, while you can also set up your own.
The Kurio Genius Internet Filtering System checks out millions of sites each and every day, so it knows what is okay for kids and what is hardcore porn. Obviously, it bans the latter, saving you having to have a very awkward conversation with your five year old about 'what those people were doing'. Once set up, we tested it by, y'know, trying to access a site such as that. Reassuringly, the TAB 2 wouldn't let us.
Parents can also control what apps the kids can download. This works in a very similar way to the internet filtering, as all apps uploaded to the Google Play Store are tagged with categories. Block a whole category, and those will be blocked from being downloaded. You can also manage what previously downloaded apps show up in the app tray, which also ties in with the ability for parents to set a general lock on the tablet. If you only want you kids to be able to use it for a couple of hours each day, you can; a warning message and eventual lock-out will show when their time is up.
In terms of the physical tablet itself, the Kurio TAB 2 is a 7” diagonal screen Android slate. The rubberised bumper can actually be removed (something we didn't realise until after a week of use!), revealing quite a pretty and perfectly-acceptable-for adult-use tablet beneath. There is 1GB of RAM in there, which is okay for kids games and apps, and also a 2MP camera on the back, and 0.3MP selfie cam on the front. There is a quad-core processor handling all the thinking, which makes it lickety-quick for a tablet designed for slow-burning apps and games.
One interesting feature was the built-in Body Motion Gaming. Some of the pre-installed games require kids to prop the tablet up so the front camera can see them, using the included fold-up stand. Then in an Xbox Kinect-like fashion, they have jump and run about to the instructions in-game, which reminded us of the fitness orientated apps of LeapFrog devices. It's a nice addition, and serves to make the TAB 2 that little bit more child focussed.
So, you're either reading this and thinking 'great, finally I can keep a watch over my kids while they're online', or 'that all sounds horribly invasive and nannying'. It's true that the screen-time cut off feature left us feeling a bit unsettled, as the idea of “screen-time” being something bad is a notion we, in general, disagree with. Still, the internet filtering works well, and there was a huge degree of peace of mind knowing that the kids can run off with the tablet and surf the web themselves without stumbling upon something inappropriate.
A well-made tablet, ideal for little hands, and – crucially – little eyes.