YouTube to offer handpicked videos on new Kids app

YouTube will soon launch a new choice for parents seeking programming for their children with a version of its Kids app that offers only videos handpicked by YouTube staff. The algorithm-driven version will still be available.

For more information, check out this Buzzfeed article.

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Netflix Lets Kids Pick the Plot

From today’s NY Times article:

Attention, kids: Netflix just put you in charge.  The streaming service released a new episode of the animated show “The Adventures of Puss in Boots” with an interactive twist. About a half-dozen times during the episode, viewers — most likely children — will be prompted to choose which plot point the show should follow. Each decision will send the story in a different direction. At one point, for example, viewers must decide whether Puss will confront nice bears or angry bears. On a touch screen, a press of the finger will do the work; on a television, a remote control will be required. The first interactive episode, called “Puss in Book,” will last 18 to 39 minutes (depending on which path viewers go down), with viewers being asked to make a decision every two to four minutes.

Amazon Alexa Hears TV Report, Orders Dollhouses For Owners

Tablettoddlers came across a story about a youngster who accidentally ordered a pricey toy through Amazon’s Alexa device. Now that story has prompted orders for unwanted dollhouses after a San Diego station repeated the story to their audience. Earlier this week the Amazon device made Dallas girl, 6-year-old Brooke Neitzel’s dollhouse dreams a reality. “Alexa ordered me a dollhouse and cookies,” Brooke explained to CBS 11. According to CW6 in that city, their morning show anchor Jim Patton commented on the story and said “I love the little girl, saying ‘Alexa ordered me a dollhouse.’” The station reports that after Patton uttered those words “viewers all over San Diego started complaining their echo devices had tried to order doll houses.”

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Augmented Reality Game Osmo Pizza Co. Teaches Young Kids Entrepreneurial Skills

From the VentureBeat post:

Osmo has made its mark with award-winning augmented reality iPad games for children, and now it’s launching another one: Osmo Pizza Co., where kids learn how to run a pizza shop and develop entrepreneurial skills. It’s another magical way to teach kids how to run a business, make change, and keep customers happy.

The title is the third game that Palo Alto, Calif.-based Osmo has launched this year, and it once again uses the iPad camera and a simple mirror to create an augmented reality experience for children ages 5 to 12.

With Osmo Pizza Co., you attach a mirror to the top of an iPad, enabling its camera to see what is immediately in front of the tablet. Then you start the game, responding to customers who ask for a certain kind of pizza. You place faux pizza dough in front of the iPad. Then you quickly place pizza toppings on top of it, fulfilling the customer’s order.

The magic comes in as the iPad camera, with the help of Osmo’s artificial intelligence software, recognizes the objects thrown in front of it. If you have put the correct pieces in front of the tablet, the app generates a positive response. It recognizes the pizza toppings and checks to see if you got the order correct. After the customers eat the pizza, they pay you, and you make change by putting physical currency in front of the camera. The tablet recognizes the correct amount and shows the math on the tablet screen.

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Loving the Kids Zone

Tablettoddlers has written about this before but we thought it was worth revisiting:  KidsZone on Comcast Xfinity’s X1 Platform is fantastic.  It’s like parental controls on steroids.  When in Kids Zone, my kids can browse all on their own, selecting live programming, free Xfinity On Demand content, movies as well as any saved programming on our DVR — all of which has either been flagged by the network or studio as kids programming, or deemed age-appropriate for kids 12 and under by Common Sense Media.  Also, while in Kids Zone, kids can quickly find recently-watched programming, browse by their favorite network and even sort by their favorite theme such as “superheroes,” “princesses” or “talking animals.” Parents can even filter programming that surfaces within Kids Zone down to specific age-ranges. For example, if I don’t want my six year old to watch shows designed for older kids, I can filter those out, tailoring the Kids Zone content to appropriate fare. They can also set shows to shuffle play.

So glad we made the decision to become connected again with Comcast after several years of cord-cutting.