Homeschool Posts

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Safely Connecting Kids with VTech’s InnoTab 3S and Kid Connect (a review & giveaway ends 11/17)

Pssst…don’t miss the giveaway for a brand, spanking new InnoTab 3S learning tablet, it would make a great gift for the kids.

Let’s face it---there’s all kinds of crud on the internet that you probably don’t want the Littles to see.  But it’s fun to keep in touch with friends and family through facebook and online chatting…wouldn’t it be great if there was a kid-friendly option that was crud-proof?

There is.

A review of Kid Connect for VTech's InnoTab 3S.  Win a VTech InnoTab 3S from Homeschooling Hearts & Minds.  Ends 11/17Last month I had the opportunity to review the VTech InnoTab 3S.  It comes with a free one year subscription to Basic Kid Connect, an app that will allow your child to send text messages and animated stickers to your Smartphone or tablet. 

And you can send them messages back, too.  All you have to do is download the free Kid Connect app for iPad, iPhone, or Android.

With Basic Kid Connect, you can stay in touch with your child even if she’s spending the night at Grandma’s (provided Grandma has Wi-Fi).  The app uses a simple touch interface and kid friendly picture icons that are a breeze for even my 4-year-old to use.

Kids can send secret messages to their siblings, too, if they have profiles on the InnoTab 3S, and even friends with their own InnoTab 3S tablets.  And you can set your child’s account up to have other contacts as well---Grandma might like to be on that list.

Within your account, you snap a photo of yourself and set up an avatar, complete with a little costume.  Each of my kids was able to do this on his/her own.

When your friends and family connect to you as a friend, they’ll see your avatar in their list of contacts.

Contact list in Kid Connect on the InnoTab 3S Contact list on the InnoTab 3S Contact list for VTech on Android tablet.Contact list on my Android Tablet

Within the Basic Kid Connect app, your child can send and receive only typed text messages and some stickers.  The typed messages use an onscreen keyboard.  Stickers are little cartoon pictures that do things when you click them (like sing, wiggle, play music, etc.).  There are about a dozen different stickers in the Basic app.

But, you’re thinking, “My 4-year-old can’t read.  This seems rather limited.” 

I agree.  And that’s why it was so much fun to get to review the Premium Kid Connect app.  This app isn’t free, but it allows you to send audio messages, drawings, pictures, and even more stickers.  It’s pretty cool.

Draw pictures in Premium Kid Connect.

Emma loves to send surprise messages to her brothers and sister.  And to me.

When she selects a contact in Kid Connect on the InnoTab 3S, she can see all the messages between us by scrolling.

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This is what is looks like from my end.018

I can click on a picture to see it full-size and the app gives me the option to save it to my tablet.

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I sent Emma back a photo I snapped in the app.

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Premium Kid Connect also allows you to send audio messages.  From your Smartphone or tablet, you’ll be able to record a short message in your own voice using your device’s mic. 

From the InnoTab 3S, kids can record their short message regularly or in a mouse or robot voice.  Emma loves that.

Here’s a brief video on Premium Kid Connect:

Now, it’s not perfect.

This app is very slow to load on the InnoTab 3S (most apps are, but this one seemed slower, and I suspect that’s because it needs to connect with the Wi-Fi).  Once it’s loaded, it seems fine, but you know how impatient little people can be.  It’s not particularly slow on my Android tablet.

007This is Emma waiting for Kid Connect to load.

The kids wish that there were more costume choices for the avatars or (preferably) that you could just use a profile pic with no costume.

And this is the thing that bugs Mama---the app only works in the vertical orientation and the onscreen keyboard keys are teeny, teeny on my tablet.  I had to reenter my password to set it up several times because I kept hitting the wrong keys.  This isn’t an issue with the InnoTab 3S, as you can use the included stylus with it.  It is a little easier to do the texting because you can more readily see when you’ve hit a wrong key.

Overall, though, we’ve been enjoying using the Premium Kid Connect App. 

I love that it’s “closed.”  No weirdos can contact my kids.

I love that all my kids can use it independently.

The kids love how easy it is to send secret messages to each other.

It would be great fun for taking on a trip---the kids could contact their friends and relatives every time we stopped at a restaurant with Wi-Fi. Winking smile

So, how much for the Premium Kid Connect App?

For the first 2 weeks after you register your InnoTab 3S, you can upgrade to the Premium Kid Connect when you purchase the Deluxe Apps package with for only $14.99.    The package also includes Movie Maker, a cool app that will help your kids make their very own stop-motion animation videos ($7.99 value).   After the 2 weeks, Premium Kid Connect can be purchased separately for $14.99.

Once you’ve upgraded the app on your Innotab 3S, you’ll have access to the premium features to send photos and such from your tablet or Smartphone.  The app for you phone or “real” tablet is free.

I’ve got some good news from VTech!

To help you out with the holiday crunch, you can now get the InnoTab 3S at a discounted price.  Regularly $99.99, it is now available for only $79.99!

I’ve got some even better news from VTech!

I get to give away another InnoTab 3S to a lucky reader! Why would you want an InnoTab 3S?  Go here to read my review and find out.

Win a VTech InnoTab 3S from Homeschooling Hearts & Minds.  Ends 11/17Here’s the fine print:

1 InnoTab 3S will go to 1 winner.

This giveaway will end on Sunday, November 17, 2013 at midnight EST.

Must be 18 or older to enter and a resident of the US.

Winner will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond, after which another winner will be selected.

Entries will be made in the Rafflecopter widget below.

VTech is responsible for prize fulfillment.

Note:  If you have difficulty entering using the Rafflecopter widget, please email me: 

susanadale@gmail.com

Thank you, and good luck!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.  I received a free copy of the Premium Kid Connect App to facilitate my review.  The prize for this giveaway is being provided by VTech.  All opinions stated here are my own.  All product information has been provided by VTech.

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