Zoodles Blog Learn and Play Every Day

August 18, 2009

Parents Know Best

Filed under: Parental Controls,Personal Stories — Erin @ 2:16 pm

There’s no shortage of parenting methods and tools available to parents.  My first real experience with “parenting methods” came when Abbie was a baby and we were trying to figure out how we wanted to handle the stressful problem of getting her to sleep through the night.  While often marketed as “one size fits all solutions”, we found that these approaches didn’t work for us for a variety of reasons.  So we researched all the methods, talked to other parents and then selected the approaches that we thought were best for our specific situation.  Ultimately this approach resulted in Abbie sleeping through the night and Tara and I feeling like we did what was best for our child and for us as parents.  What this experience reinforced for me is that every child and family is unique and that what worked for other families may or may not work for us.  The old saying “a parent knows best” proved to be true.

The “parents know best” philosophy drives our approach to building many of our features for parents.  Some parents have strong feelings about the branded characters they want their children to interact with, while others have strong feelings about the type of activities that their child can do online.  An important part of the Zoodles offering are the parental controls we provide to parents that allow them to customize their child’s experience.  Here is a brief overview of the parental control features inside of Zoodles:

Promoting Educational Subjects – We have a team of Stanford-educated educational experts that hand curate the content we offer in our “virtual toybox.”  Part of the process of adding a game to our system is evaluating the educational value of an online game / activity. Since we know what concepts are taught in every game / activity parents can promote games from a specific subject area in their child’s toybox.  All you have to do is adjust the sliders in our Education & Parental Controls section of the parent dashboard:

Zoodles Educational Controls Math and Reading

Blocking Websites, Characters and Games – Every family makes their own decisions about the characters and websites their child is allowed to engage with.  For example, we don’t allow Abbie or Samantha to play with SpongeBob SquarePants.  SpongeBob is just one of the many branded characters we have decided that we don’t want our children engaging with.  We know of many parents who have an aversion to some of our favorite characters (Dora the Explorer, Sid the Science Kid, etc.).  Again, every family is unique, so Zoodles allows parents to block exactly the content they don’t want their child to engage in.  You can block an entire website, block a specific branded character, or even block a specific game that you don’t want your child to play with.  Here is what the interface looks like today to make this simple for you:

Block websites

Block Shows

Block Games

Restricting Types of Content – I have had the pleasure of talking with dozens (if not hundreds) of parents about the role that the computer plays in the life of their family.  One interesting trend has been that many Zoodles users are using Zoodles as a replacement for the TV.  Parents love the fact that the content is engaging, safe, and educational.  Many parents who want to replace “TV time” with “Zoodles time” enjoy the ability to customize what types of content their child can play with (e.g. – block all video content).  Here is what the interface looks like to easily remove or add different types of content to Zoodles:

Content Type Access

In keeping with our “parents know best,” please let us know how you would like to customize your child’s experience by leaving us a comment or sending us an email:  support@zoodles.com

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  1. Spongebo and Patrick are really great characters. love them.:;-

    Comment by Grace Brown — July 3, 2010 @ 1:08 pm

  2. So is this a computer program that has all of these components built in? Or would I have to get separate programs to handle these different tasks with my kids?

    Comment by dashboard replacements — February 28, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

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