May 10, 2022

Smaller brands are outclassing Google in the kids’ tech space

By Chris Wedel last updated January 31, 2022

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Kids Gadgets Pinwheel Lifestyle (Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Technology and science seem like magic in many ways, even to adults, but to a child, it’s hard to convey all the effort from the teams of people who make devices like tablets work. As a person in this industry, with two boys, I see the wonderment in their eyes every day, and it’s a constant battle of balance. That balance is finding safe kids’ tech that’s trusted not only to withstand the treatment of a child, but also ones that are private and secure.

One of the primary issues parents face is finding kids’ tech trustworthy enough to give to their children. Google should be one of those companies, but it isn’t making the push it should. Yes, Google has Family Link, but it has many limitations. Some include: shared in-app purchases, workarounds for parental controls via third-party app installs, a lack of content monitoring, and more. Then there’s Google Kids Space for tablets with its own set of limitations, plus it’s only available for a minimal number of devices.

Google is one of the largest tech companies in the world, and its competitors are lapping it in the kids’ tech space.

I’m not saying that what Google has accomplished so far is bad, but we’re talking about Google here. It can do better. Apple made it possible for kids to use its Apple Watch and even makes it easy to share in-app purchases across devices. Then there’s Amazon with its fantastic Kids+ service, making the Fire Kids tablets some of the best Android tablets for kids — period.Sponsored LinksOnline Data Entry Job in USA from Pakistan. Salaries Might surprise youUSA Job from Home | Search AdsClick Here

Amazon’s Kids lineup of products and software is great, but plenty of Google services are missing in the retail giant’s ecosystem. Even though Amazon has a big lead in the tech space surrounding kids, Google has all the tools to make up ground. Thankfully, if you want to get a gadget for your child, there are options outside the big brands.RECOMMENDED VIDEOS FOR YOU…CLOSEhttps://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.513.0_en.html#goog_10549444830 seconds of 9 minutes, 14 secondsVolume 0% PLAY SOUND

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Source: Chris Wedel/Android Central (Image credit: Source: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

But, for every good piece of tech targeted toward kids, there are at least 10 you should avoid for various reasons. Herein lies another hurdle for parents searching for trustworthy devices and services for their kids — many of these brands can be hard to find. However, these brands are making excellent products and innovative services that lead the charge in kids’ and parental tech.

I’ve reviewed a bunch of excellent kids smartwatches like the TickTalk 4 and the Gabb Watch. Gabb, aside from making a watch for kids, also offers a smartphone, which I’m in the process of reviewing, that utilizes a custom installation of Android to help protect kids.

Another brand working hard to give kids a smartphone experience they will enjoy while ensuring parents have peace of mind about letting their child use a phone is Pinwheel. Shelley Delayne, CMOM (Chief Mom) at Pinwheel, told Android Central about some of the challenges the company is facing in this space.

“We’re a mission-driven startup, and our small size sometimes contributes to supply chain challenges on the hardware side. We want to set a new standard for the way kids develop mastery over their technology,” Delayne says. “Our collaboration with the Digital Wellness Lab, a research entity out of Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard University, grounds our work with their research on the impact of technology on child development. Because that landscape has evolved so much recently, even the latest research from leading experts covers uncharted territory.”

I agree. Kids are crafty in finding ways to get what they want. Whether it’s asking another parent permission for something after one already said no, or trying to access a blocked app or website. It’s a constantly changing situation, and one that parents and the companies that manage these services and devices, must evolve with. It’s also a situation where Google, as a company with the horsepower, intelligence, and information to aid, should do so.

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