How to control technology use with kids + Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 Kids Review

Apr 14, 2014

This post is sponsored by Samsung and Nuffnang

Recently we were sent Samsung's first dedicated tablet for kids, the GALAXY Tab 3 Kids, to trial.

In general, I try to limit the electronic or battery operated toys in our house and instead look for toys or materials that are open ended. Most battery operated toys I find are generally unnecessary and have limited purpose or scope for use. When it comes to technology, I understand the benefits, but I also understand the need for parental control.

I have seen how easy it is for my daughter to suddenly be on the internet after accidentally pressing something in a free kids app on my phone, and my son can walk by and touch 4 keys on my laptop and suddenly be in a whole different format or program that I’ve never seen before! It’s safe to say that I think parental control and settings for children using technology are needed.

The first thing that parents should control when it comes to their child's use of technology, is what they have access to. Children should not have free, unsupervised access to the internet. You know what's out there! We also know that there are plenty of wonderful, educationally beneficial sites, programs and apps available on the internet that are brilliant for kids. The trick is ensuring that your children have access to the right things only.

With adult supervision, specific parental control settings may not need to be implemented, but if children are using internet connected technology independently for any period of time, then you should have a way to help you control access to pre-approved content/sites.

I found the GALAXY Tab 3 Kids makes this super easy to control, with it's dedicated kids mode for safety and a password protection on anything outside the approved kid friendly apps.

The second thing I believe parents need to control, is the amount of time that children are using technology for. It is recommended by the Australian Government Department of Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics that children aged between approx 2-8 should have no more than 1-2 hours of screen time per day.
Screen time includes anything that your child is staring fixed at a screen. This means TV, video games, tablets, mobile phones, computers etc.

The main reasons I believe that screen time in general should be limited are:
  • to limit the amount of time children are sitting inactive
  • to allow children scope for unaided imagination and creativity
  • to encourage social skills 
  • to give children more opportunity to use all of their senses 
  • overuse of unstimulating screen time is linked with obesity, sleeping problems, behavioural problems and lower academic performance.

I do think that if it is being used for learning purposes, a little extra screen time here and there is ok, so long as children are still getting the recommended time of physical activity each day. We would encourage our children if they were sitting for a certain period reading a book, and reading an ebook needn't be any different, in my opinion.

I did love that the GALAXY Tab 3 Kids allows you to set time limits on usage, (from 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes), after which it requires a password to operate. You can even set certain time periods, eg. between 4-5pm, that it can be used, locking it for use at all other times. Very handy features to have.

Using it was easy for my daughter (aged 5) and she loved all the apps that came with it. Some of them she had previously used on my smart phone (and was delighted they were there!), and there were some great new ones there that we enjoyed exploring together. 

I loved the educational aspects of the books and many of the apps and my daughter just loved the whole interactive nature of it all and how bright and clear the screen and graphics were, compared to almost all of the other kid designated technology we've used.

We found that the loading times and screen speeds were also a lot faster than we're used to from kids tablets in the lower price range.

I love watching my daughter engaging with appropriate technology. It's just another fun way that we can learn through play. I generally believe in most things in moderation and the use of technology for children is no different. In moderation and with proper parental control, I think that technology can be very beneficial indeed. And, when you have great products like the Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 Kids available, these things just get even easier.

The GALAXY Tab 3 Kids is a tablet designed for kids and features the following:

  • A world for kids with an intuitive Kids friendly user interface on the Android platform with a differentiated kids content.
    (We found it so user friendly for kids! Perfect for the specified age groups)
  • Designed specifically for kids aged 3-6 with the ability to easily switch from the built in Kids Mode to Standard GALAXY Tab 3 Mode – so the tablet grows with your child or so you can use it like an ordinary tablet
    (I think older kids would love using it in standard mode. Personally, I'd be keeping this tablet for the kids and using my own one. It does function just like a regular tablet when switched over but I'd prefer one for myself with higher specs.)
  • 8 best-selling Kids Apps pre-loaded and many more available in the Kids App Store. 20 great free apps in total.
    (Some were favourites that we already had on our phones. They'd have no reason to use my phone anymore, yay! Extra apps can be purchased but need parental permission first to buy)
  • Comes with a unique protective and colourful rubber bumper designed to keep the edges of the tablet protected, which can be removed when your child gets older.
    (Doesn't actually protect the screen itself but you can purchase additional screen protectors. Good for knocks and bumps and accidental drops)
  • Parental settings to help control in app usage and purchases and manage the amount of use per day (These are great and so important!)
  • Available to purchase from selected Australian retailers, including: JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Bing Lee, Dick Smith, Target, Big W, Good Guys and Myer
  • RRP $299.00 AUD

Overall, to me, this tablet looks, feels and performs like most tablets you’d buy for adults (in this price range). The main difference, (and top feature in my opinion), is it’s dedicated kids platform, which I think has been done really well. I think if you’re after a super sturdy tablet for the kids to crash and bash around on without worry, this probably isn’t the tablet for you. You can buy an additional carry case for it but it’ll set you back another $69.95.
My kids prefer using this tablet over the other tougher kid’s tablets, as to them, “it’s like a “real” tablet” and it’s much faster loading than they’re used to. I also prefer it as it’s easy to use (for kids and parents), has all the parental settings I need, good apps and easy access to the Google Play store to put even more free or paid content on it if I like. It’s the kind of tablet that I am happy to let my kids play independently for short periods of time without having to check in constantly to make sure they’ve not pressed something they shouldn’t have. The price is higher than most kids’ tablets but personally I think it’s worth it as I can see us getting a lot of use from this one over the years.

How to Win (Australian entries only) *Please note. This competition has ended.

Thanks to Samsung we are giving away a $100 Google Play voucher to one lucky Aussie reader.

To enter, simply leave a comment below that answers the following question:

How would the Galaxy Tab 3 for kids fit into your life?

Giveaway details:
This is a game of  skill and entries will be judged based on creativity and originality. Open to Australian residents only. Entries open  9:01am AEDT,Monday 14th April, 2014 and close 5:00pm AEDT, Friday 25th April, 2014. Terms and Conditions apply. Please click here for full terms and conditions.
- If you don't have a profile created that links to an email address then you must leave your email address with the comment. You can't win if we can't contact you! If you use the anonymous profile to comment you need to leave your name and email.

There is currently a consumer cash back promotion on offer. Consumers who purchase a GALAXY Tab 3 Kids tablet between 8.00am AEDT on 27 February and 6.00pm AEST 30 April 2014, can get $50 cash back. Terms and conditions apply, visit for full T&Cs.

Happy playing, 
Debs :)

{Disclosure: this is a paid post for Samsung sponsored by Nuffnang. As always, opinions expressed in this post are my own and my children's.}

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