Child-friendly Nexus 7
November 13, 2013 6:06 AM   Subscribe

What should I do to a brand new Nexus 7 to make sure it's both safe and fun when my four-year-old daughter unwraps it at Christmas?

Specific software recommendations welcome. Talk to me like I'm an idiot who's never used an Android device before, because a) I'm an idiot and b) I've never used Android before.
posted by monkey closet to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: 1. Make sure you've set a password for your Google Play account.

2. Create a separate user profile for your child and protect your main profile with a PIN, pattern or password. Add pictures to the accounts for easy identification. Each profile has its own set of apps.

3. Install something like AppLock. This will allow you to lock down all of the apps (such as Settings, Email, Google Play store and so on) that you don't want your child to use.

There are lots and lots of childproofing apps. Some more of them at MakeUseOf.
posted by pipeski at 6:39 AM on November 13, 2013

Best answer: Oh, and as well as one of those 'bumper' cases like the one planetesimal mentions, get some screen protectors. They can be a bit fiddly to apply (tip: do a google search on removing trapped dust specks with tape) but will do a lot to preserve the tablet's screen.
posted by pipeski at 7:09 AM on November 13, 2013

Best answer: Buy a screen cover and a bumper for it. I don't have specific recommendations, and my experience is that Android devices as a whole, and Nexus 7s specifically, are a lot tougher than you would expect, but that they do last a lot longer when protected, even minimally. (My partner and daughter both have butterfingers, and their tablets get dropped--ugh. A lot. A lot lot more than I am comfortable with, in a house that's almost all hardwood and tile. We've had one broken screen that I replaced easily, but no other damage.)

Be aware that if the Nexus is dropped just right, the back cover can pop off. This isn't a big deal, and it snaps right back on, *but* on the original sevens, at least, the volume/power buttons aren't attached in any way--they're held in place by the pressure of the cover. If the back pops off the, power/volume buttons can come off, too, or can fall out of place--make sure that you have them in place when you pop the back cover on. (I mention this not because it's super common, but because I found out the hard way on Christmas morning, and there was a subsequent freakout that MY VOLUME BUTTON IS GONE MOM EVERYTHING IS RUINED. Don't do that to yourself.) In the year we've had our tablets, all of them unbumpered, I can count on one hand the number of times the covers have popped open like that, but it's still really disconcerting when it happens.

Many games that kids her age like are moderately difficult for them to progress in--I know a lot of my friends' kids like stuff like Angry Birds and Candy Crush, but get stuck quickly. If you play and of those games, or if you're willing to, it might be worth it to sync your progress to her tablet, and then unlink your account. (I know this works for Facebook-based games--you can log into FB, sync, and then log out of FB, and your progress stays. I assume Angry Birds, etc, have similar mechanisms.)

I've recommended this before, but DragonBox is a great educational app for kids.

Moon+ Reader is a great ereader, and it handles basically every format, so it'll work with basically everything you purchase, download, or otherwise encounter. (Exception, obviously, for things purchased through Amazon for Kindle.) I have to say that one of the huge benefits of tablets for us has been that my daughter now reads everywhere, all the time, just because she can, because her tablet has hundreds of books on it and she wants to read them all. It's fantastic.

Styles of game popular with children: dress-up games, games where you grow creatures (Tiny Monsters, Dragon Story, Dragon Pet, Unicorn Pet--all recs from my daughter; not vetted by me), Candy Brush, Angry Birds, Where's My Water/Where's My Perry, and Minecraft. Seriously: Minecraft. I have yet to see a kid get introduced to Minecraft and not be super into it, even when you'd think that they're too young for it. A friend's three year old recently spent ages lying on my sofa and building weird houses. There's even a free version to try it out. I can't play it, because holy crap vertigo, but the kids in my life are wild about it.
posted by MeghanC at 7:26 AM on November 13, 2013

Best answer: I would use something like OpenDNS (free version) to make sure some of the more objectionable internet content isn't available.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:58 AM on November 13, 2013

Best answer: The new Nexus 7 (assuming you are talking about the one released earlier this year) has the native ability to create a "guest" account so you don't have to install anything special to lock down things. Look for the option in Settings.

Your main account should be passworded (not just protected by a PIN/pattern) and for your daughter's account I would recommend disabling, at minimum:
- Google Play Store
- Settings
- communications apps like Email, Hangouts, Google+
- anything you've installed for yourself and don't want her using, like Facebook

If you want to prevent her from using the internet totally, you can also disable WiFi (and possibly cell reception; mine is a wifi only model) and then lock down Settings so she can't re-enable it. But this will also disable any apps that need to "call home" to work, like most free-to-play games.

And, yeah, definitely get a protective case. It's not the most hardy thing.
posted by Xany at 3:13 AM on November 14, 2013

Response by poster: It feels lazy to mark everyone's contributions as best, but this is all really useful stuff. Thanks!
posted by monkey closet at 2:21 AM on November 15, 2013

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