To enable younger children in particular to use a Samsung smartphone or tablet safely and independently, there is the “Kids Mode” or “Kids Home” app.
Child Mode is a so-called Parental Control App and is designed to provide your child with a safe smartphone environment. (The successor is called Kids Home). You can download it from the Galaxy App Store for free. It runs on all Samsung mobile devices (from 2014).
When installing the app, a PIN is created, which can be used to activate or exit the child mode. If the app is active on the phone, you automatically use it with parental controls.
You can configure your own and child-friendly user interface. This is colorful and designed with fun characters that “accompany” your child during use. Depending on the setting, your child can access various content such as music, videos, and games, as well as an app store with free and paid children’s apps. The Galaxy Store also offers a number of children’s apps that run in child mode.
A variety of control functions are available to you as a parent. You can choose what content your child has access to. These can be apps, but also, for example, music, pictures and selected contacts from the address book. In addition, a time limit can be set, i.e. how long a day the smartphone or tablet may be used. To have an overview of how your child behaves with the smartphone, there is the “activity information“. How long apps were used, who your child was in contact with or what videos and photos were taken – you can see all that here.
When downloading, the app needs access to the camera, phone and SMS – the reasons for this are not comprehensible.
There is no information about what age the app is actually intended for or suitable for. From our point of view, the app is more suitable for younger children. However, you should keep in mind that this will bring your child into contact with hidden advertising at an early age. This is because the preloaded children’s app store in the child mode interface contains apps from toy manufacturers, among others. Downloading games is tempting for the little ones and just a click away, but some of them come at a cost.
Apps from other providers, such as Google Maps, cannot be used in child mode.
Samsung wants to enable “child-friendly use of your smartphone or tablet” with the child mode. Samsung explains the app’s operation in detail, but does not make any age or settings recommendations.
Cell phone manufacturers and app developers are launching more and more ways to help parents control their children’s cell phone use. Ideally, it is only about protecting children from content that is not age-appropriate and can impair their development. One should therefore be careful that well-intentioned control does not lead to surveillance. Because children also need free spaces in which they can try things out on their own, learn and develop.
Younger children in particular (up to elementary school age) should be closely supervised in their use of media and ideally should not use devices alone. If there is no other way, such apps may be an option. Before you install child mode for your child, you should also research alternatives to find the most viable and safe application for you and your child.
The fact that Samsung displays content from business partners in child-safe mode can be disabled with a click in the settings. Note, however, that the installation also includes many things that can no longer be deselected. Check apps or games that can be used in child mode before letting your child play with them.