December 4, 2013
I was sitting in the airport the other day, having arrived for my flight way too early, when I noticed that almost every kid was using a smartphone or tablet. I realized that’s not the scene strictly in public though; kids are using mobile devices to occupy themselves at any given time throughout the day.
With these devices comes the untapped power of learning as only the Internet can offer, but there are also corners of the Internet better left untouched when it comes to children. The risk is ever present if they are using their parents’ device with an unfiltered YouTube account: one wrong click and you go from The Magic School Bus to unedited Yin Yang Twins music.
Madeline Funes will smite you if you call her a mompreneur, so don’t. She has real grit as a normal entrepreneur though; the same week she gave birth to her second child, she released the first version of her app PlayCorner TV to end the content filtration dilemma once and for all.
“When it came to my now three-and-a-half-year-old son, who loves to watch videos on our phones and iPads, we were frustrated by the interface issues,” says Funes. “Aside from having to type in every video title for him, I quickly figured out how easy it was for him to find videos I don’t want him watching.”
There are already quite a few kids’ video apps for iOS that claim to do exactly the same thing as PlayCorner TV like only allow kid-friendly videos. Ironically though, Funes notes that most of these apps are not designed with the child in mind.
To that end, PlayCorner TV was built on a platform that fits the needs of parents and children alike. It filters out inappropriate content, filters in educational content, and is entirely image-based for kids who can’t read yet.
“It’s funny because in our observations, the parents sometimes don’t totally get it, but their kids will go right in and start watching videos,” says Funes.
According to Funes, even though there is a lot of great educational content on YouTube, it’s a roll of the dice when you blindly give your child a mobile device. PlayCorner TV enables children aged one to six to intelligently navigate a touch device while enjoying educational YouTube videos.
The design and development has been no walk in the park as PlayCorner TV is still bootstrapped. Going through the vetting process to get on the iTunes store was also stressful, and the current challenge to scale the revenues on a limited budget is overwhelming.
But there is good news for Funes beyond the stellar ratings she already has on the iTunes store. The family tech market is growing steadily and solidly, but at the same time, it’s still largely ignored. That is, people are still looking for a breakout product to really get behind and support: PlayCorner TV is working to fit that role and pioneer the next generation of kid friendly content.
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