AppStore User Rating:
Fend off overwhelm and have an instant solution to fussy children with Kids? Panic! The app allows parents to instantly provide an endless stream of short, wholesome children’s videos with a single click.
- Child-friendly video shorts
- Stellar collection
- Categorized search system
- Immediate access to the next video
- Official clips from children’s shows
Kids? Panic! accomplishes its goal of providing instantaneous, engaging entertainment for young children. The app’s makers suggest it will be most useful in situations where the kids are getting restless, such as waiting in line or when there are unexpected delays. The app works as advertised, presenting a large red PANIC button when you turn it on. Press the panic button, and instantly turn your device into a kid-friendly and safe video feed that is next to impossible for a young child to turn off. The videos are all short, to match little attention spans, and all come from acclaimed children’s programs from around the world.
While this app is not intended to be educational, it actually is. Children will see familiar characters and be able to anticipate words to songs they already know. In addition, many have printed words to help children “sing along,” and so build the connections between printed and spoken language. Because the videos are fed at random, children will also see and hear novel songs and rhymes, as well, which will build memory, vocabulary, and other important language skills.
One of the neat features of Kids? Panic! is that the videos are selected from the official YouTube feeds of children’s programming from around the world (all in English, as far as I’ve seen). This means that interspersed with familiar characters from television, there are also children’s characters, rhymes and songs from other parts of the world.
Kids? Panic! is designed to entertain, and entertain it does. The fast-paced and broad selection of videos will capture and keep the attention of most young children for quite a while, which makes the app very effective for soothing fussy and impatient kids on the spur of the moment. If you have more time to set things up, parents can be selective about the videos by selecting the “Videos” option from the front page. This opens up a selection of categories, a “most popular” set and a “latest” set of videos. Categories include things like favorite artists, nursery rhymes or specific television shows. Choices from this selection need to be re-entered after every video, and it would be really nice if the app would pull from the chosen category after the first, so parents could be attending to other things. Another feature that is missing from this app is the ability to create a “playlist” of favorites. Even the very young have favorites that parents can count on being crowd pleasers, and it would be nice to be able to offer these up when needed.
Kids? Panic! is a great value for harried parents. For the low price, you can have instant entertainment for your child when all else fails. The main danger would be in overusing this app as a handy “babysitter.” Parents should be aware that the app does require an active internet connection and will use data on the phone plan if it is not able to access wi-fi. Be sure you understand the limits and fees associated with your plan before you use the app on the cellular network.
Once the videos are running on this app, the very young will find it almost impossible to turn it off. The makers brag that kids can throw the phone, bite it or subject it to an assortment of other abuses without stopping the videos, and that’s probably true. In order to turn off the videos, it is necessary to touch the screen, then touch numbers one through four on the four corners, in order within a time period. This maneuver unlocks the controls allowing users to stop the feed, skip to the next video or repeat a previous selection.
However, if a child were to access the device and open the app independently, pushing the “I” icon for information in the top right corner opens a host of features that most parents would not want young children to access. This includes contact forms, opening the App Store, accessing the company’s webpage, and more. These links should be more fully protected from accidental and purposeful taps. As it stands, parents should be aware that this app is only truly child friendly after a parent has activated the videos.
Harried parents will love this instant kid-occupying app for iPhone and iPad that puts child-friendly video shorts into children’s hands.