These days, kids are getting cellphones younger and younger. This can be a scary thought, placing not only a costly, but a device with myriad capabilities into the hands of a child. Yet at the same time, it can be equally as scary to be away from your LO and not be able to communicate with them. Enter KidiBuzz, by VTech, a smart phone device fashioned exclusively for kids.
Think of all the great features, both fun and useful, that your smartphone has—messaging capability, a camera, games, music, an alarm clock, etc. KidiBuzz offers all those features, as well as Learning Lodge, an app store chock full of enriching games and programs tailored exclusively for kids. But besides Learning Lodge, where apps can be purchased for additional fee, Kidibuzz is preloaded with more than 40 learning games that cover a variety of subjects including math, spelling, science, problem solving and music—staying true to its VTech values.
With KidiBuzz, kids basically have a kid-safe smartphone without a service provider. The device doesn’t let kids make phone calls, but rather allows them to send texts, voice messages, photos, drawings, and animated stickers over Wi-Fi using the KidiConnect app to any of their parent-approved friends who have KidiBuzz. KidiBuzz is very easy-to-use, and even has two large access buttons on top, to help kids take a shortcut to the camera and the voice recorder.
As a parent, you are given a lot of control over the device. KidiBuzz has a separate profile on the phone just for parents, which requires a passcode to access. Here, you can manage the apps kids download from Learning Lodge, set time limits for how long kids can use the device at once, approve friends, and add websites to the kid-safe browser. You can also download the VTech KidiBuzz app from the Google Play store to your phone, so when you’re out, and your child is home, you can communicate directly with them instead of phoning the babysitter.
Like all smartphones, kids can access the internet non KidiBuzz, however, it is protected by a kid-safe browser. Luckily, the browser comes programmed with an abundance of kid-centric sites , such as BBC Kids, and fun videos. There are several categories set up to help kids make a selection of what they want to browse the web for. To give you a taste of what’s already waiting for kids, I was able to watch “Story of Cartel the Baby Otter” and “Funny Riddles for Kids.” Not going to lie, I wish my adult iPhone had these waiting for me when I opened Safari. There are so many programs and games already installed on the phone that purchasing additional games from Learning Lodge isn’t required at all for an enriching and fun play experience.
And it wouldn’t be 21st century technology without the ability to take a selfie, amiright? The 180-degree rotating camera can be used for selfies, regular pictures, and videos. TBH, it’s a pretty high-quality camera. My selfie came out #flawless, despite being in a poorly lit area.
But if you’re like me, and constantly drop your smartphone and crack the screen every couple months, you’re probably worried that this device may not be ideal for a child. KidiBuzz, however, is equipped with bumpers and a shatter-resistant screen—it’s kid-tough. I dropped it on concrete to test it out, and no damage occurred whatsoever. Apple and Android could definitely take a cue from VTech.
Nonetheless, KidiBuzz is an Android-based operating system and is compatible with popular Android apps and games that parents can choose to download and make available to their kids. Not only is it fun for kids, but it can also help prep them for when they do get that first real phone.
As of now, I am convincing my adult friends to get this phone so I can send them some messages and #flawless selfies. It’s slightly bigger (and significantly more affordable) than the iPhone 8, and the screen won’t crack! KidiBuzz could be the next big phone giant.