In my family, we can’t go a day without my toddler watching an episode of Caillou or my 10 year old watching Randy Cunningham 9th Grade Ninja, or Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal. But when the kids want to find something new to watch, I feel uneasy just handing them the remote out of concern they’ll stumble across something inappropriate. After all, with the thousands of choices on TV today, the odds of them being exposed to a show, movie or commercial that they shouldn’t be watching are pretty high.
That’s why we’re thrilled to announce the launch of Kids Zone today, a new feature on X1 that gives parents like me extra peace of mind by offering a safe and secure experience for kids to independently explore their favorite content and discover new programming.
When in Kids Zone, children can browse all on their own, selecting live programming, free Xfinity On Demand content, movies and TV shows purchased through the Xfinity Digital Store, as well as any saved programming on our DVR — all of which has either been flagged by the network or studio as kids programming, or deemed age-appropriate for kids 12 and under by the great folks at Common Sense Media.
Additionally, while in Kids Zone, children can quickly find recently-watched programming, browse by their favorite network and even sort by their favorite theme such as "superheroes," "princesses" or "talking animals."
If they choose to, parents can even filter programming that surfaces within Kids Zone down to specific age-ranges. For example, if I don’t want my two year old to watch shows designed for older kids, I can filter those out, tailoring the Kids Zone content to preschool-appropriate fare. They can also set shows to shuffle play.
We’ve added other protective features as well. Parents can set a parental control pin so their kids don’t wander out of Kids Zone without them knowing. We’ve also added myriad other features (such as disabling channel up/channel down on the remote, and locking out the ability to purchase or rent programming) to give parents that extra peace of mind that the kids are always watching in a safe, appropriate space.
Kids Zone is a true product of Comcast’s innovative culture. It began as a project developed during one of our Lab Weeks, when Comcast employees are encouraged to team up, explore and develop projects that may be off the beaten path of their day-to-day work. Like many Lab Week projects, Kids Zone showed immediate promise as a consumer-facing technology and was moved quickly into development.
Along the way, the engineers, designers and product managers behind Kids Zone had to tackle some big challenges. Kids Zone is continuously being updated with new live, on demand and saved kids programming, demanding an advanced approach to filtering and managing what kids see. Designers and engineers also had to answer a question they’d never faced: "how do you design an interface for users who haven’t yet learned to read?"
The product of their work is a technology that is powerful and reliable, but perhaps even more importantly, intuitive and fun.
So tell your kids to grab their Elmos and curl up with Dora the Explorer for the very best kid-friendly videos available, and you’ll feel good about the safe environment, too.