I had the opportunity recently to sample Zoodles. It is a browser that can insure extra safety for your children while they are on the internet. The basic Zoodles is free and your children can explore to their hearts content. They also send you a weekly email telling you what games, videos, activities etc. that your child has participated in. Each report informs you of the amount of time spent on each activity.
"Through our Premium Membership, we give parents smart tools to guide their child’s online experience. Parents can further customize Zoodles by shaping the content and subjects, setting play time limits, selecting the right violence level, and more, all through an easy Parent Dashboard. We keep parents up‐to‐date on their child’s activities through frequent email progress reports.
Developed by a father of two and a talented team of software and educational experts, Palo Alto, California‐based Zoodles soft‐launched in April 2009. By gathering the best educational content in one kid‐friendly place, Zoodles finally gives parents an alternative to television that is safe, engaging, interactive and educational. The company recently received the coveted Gold Award from the National Parenting Publications (NAAPA), a seal given to the
best children’s products and parent resources as well as a 2010 Parents' Choice Award from the Parents’ Choice Foundation."
"Screened by Experts
All of the content in the Zoodles browser has been rigorously screened and evaluated by our team of educational experts. This team includes teachers, children’s media developers, anti‐bullying advocates, child psychologists, and learning technology designers. Every Zoodles game has been played through in its entirety and assessed for its educational value, its alignment with national and state standards, its entertainment value, and its age‐ and skilllevel appropriateness.
Restricted to Safe Whitelist
Any time your child attempts to navigate somewhere outside of a Zoodles‐approved link, they are blocked fromgoing there and taken back to the page they were last on.
Protected from Ads
Additionally, Zoodles has developed a powerful Premium feature that allows parents to block ads from displaying on third‐party sites that their children visit. These ads often target children with inappropriate offers for car insurance, Hugh Heffner video games, or home loans."
I am including quite a bit of information from their site, so I don't quote anything wrong. I do have to say I am impressed with all the available control the parent has over the site through the parental dashboard. If you don't care for certain games, or characters, you are able to block them. If you have a certain site you want added, you can.
"For parents who dislike certain branded characters, it’s easy to remove them from Zoodles. Simply click Education and Parental Controls and then Block Shows. Then just type or check off the characters who you’d like to block. The same goes for sites and even for specific games."
"We also give parents the ability to control the level of violence involved in their children’s
games, according to our comprehensive violence rating system. Go to Education and Parental
Controls and then Violence Limits to choose a rating level that you’re comfortable with."
"The Zoodles browser is 100% free for families to download and play. All the parental features and controls are part of our Premium Membership, which costs $7.95 per month, $39.95 for six months, and $59.95 for a year. All new users will be given a 14‐day free trial of Premium Membership."
"Every parent can attest to the difficulty of reining in a child who’s having fun. The Zoodles Play Timer lets you control how long your child plays without having to be the bad guy. From Education and Parental Controls, click Time Limits. Now you can set time limits anywhere from half an hour to 8 hours a day, and change it depending on whether it’s the weekend or weekday, or which child is playing. As time winds down, children are given friendly purple
reminders with how much time they have left. Once time runs out, a big blue clock appears and they are taken safely back to the starting log‐in screen."
My daughter has truly enjoyed her time on Zoodles and I can enjoy knowing that she is not going to have something inappropriate pop up. Now, I still have safety rules in my home. No one is allowed to be on the internet unless they are sitting where anyone in the family can see what they are doing. No one is allowed on a computer in their room alone. I still want to be able to see and hear what is going on, but I did enjoy that extra safety. Here is a sample of the 8 year old Math Games. M troly likes to read also, so Zoodles has Reading Games available. Imagine my amazement when I saw her performing brain surgery on Edheads. She was even able to play some of our favorite Hasbro games.
Edheads:"Edheads describes itself as a site that creates "unique, educational Web experiences designed to make hard-to-teach concepts understandable." Their vibrant, interactive games map strongly to national and state standards, and they encourage students to think differently about learning and problem-solving."
Zoodles is going to give 3 winners 3 months of the premium service. I really suggest everyone at least try their 14 day free trial.
Mandatory Entry:Visit the Zoodles website and let me know one reason why you would like to win this giveaway. (Time Limits, No ads, etc) You do not have to be a blogger to enter this giveaway, but you must leave a valid email where you can be reached should you win. This giveaway will end 9/13 at 11:59 pm CST. The winner will be chosen using random.org and will be notified by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond.
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Disclaimer: I received no monetary compensation for this post. I did receive a 6 month trial for review purposes. All quotes are from the Zoodle website or email. All thoughts and opinions are mine.