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summer_scav_blog
Jul 2
Jul 2

Summer Scavenger Hunt!

The school holidays have arrived, the sunshine is (supposedly) here to stay and we thought what better way to celebrate than to give you guys the chance to win LOADS of prizes in our Summer Scavenger Hunt! 🔎

Every Monday we will set you a task based all around Azoomee and everything in the app. You’ll have to work your way through our educational games, watch some of our fav vids and test your internet safety knowledge in our online quizzes. It’s a great way to explore screen time as a family. If you join us on a Monday to take part in our weekly challenges you will be in with a chance to win lots of Azoomee goodies!

And there’s is more… If you complete the challenge each Monday, at the end of the 6-week summer holiday, you’ll be put into a prize draw to win the Scavenger Award and a very special prize, which you do not want to miss out on! The Azoomee app can be downloaded for free from the App Store, Google Play or Amazon Appstore so you won’t need to spend any money to take part.

Worried about the kids spending the whole of the holidays on their tablet or phone? Azoomee time is so much more than screen time – it’s a way to learn new skills like coding, dance and football, to practice safe online behaviour and stay in touch with family and friends safely. As well as instilling the values of being smart safe and kind online, Azoomee contains no ads, algorithms or hidden in-app purchases… just great entertainment for kids. It’s the perfect addition to your child’s summer holiday! 🌞

So make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the challenges which will be posted each Monday on our social channels. Happy summer holidays everybody and good luck! 🍀

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GuinessWorldRecords_Blog_Banner_3
Mar 3
Mar 3

We’ve teamed up with Guinness World Records® to bring videos of record-breaking achievements to Azoomee!

Get ready to discover the world’s tallest, shortest, fastest, longest, oldest and most incredible things on the planet on Azoomee! Guinness World Records, the global authority on record-breaking achievements since 1955, has partnered with Azoomee to give children access to videos of some of the most interesting and inspiring (or at least ambitious!) record holders on the planet within our safe, ad-free app.

The first videos will be live from 30th March 2018, just in time to enjoy over the Easter holidays, from the fastest moonwalker to the team who completed the most backflips off a wall in one minute! New Guinness World Records videos will then be added weekly for children to enjoy and learn from in a fun and entertaining way.

“Guinness World Records videos provide inspiring, factual and entertaining content that teaches children about practice, perseverance and learning through experiences. Values we hold dear at Azoomee and we believe are fundamental for children growing up in such fast-changing times. We are thrilled to have Guinness World Records on board.” – Estelle Lloyd, Co-founder, Azoomee.

 

Competition!

Guinness World Records Book Giveaway!

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SW_LandingPage
Mar 1
Mar 1

Science Week at Azoomee – Experimentation and the Power of Persistence!

British Science Week is here and we are thrilled to announce the arrival of our brand-new series Jiwi’s Machines on Azoomee.

Jiwi’s Machines celebrates the wacky, wonderful world of science and engineering!

Watch as Jiwi creates all kinds of crazy contraptions to carry out simple everyday tasks. Not only will kids have fun watching how the inventions all come together but they can also learn about the principles of simple machines.

Engaging children in fun activities is the perfect way to introduce new concepts, so we have created three fun activities for you to try at home, all inspired by Jiwi’s Machines:

  1. Learn more about simple machines and create your own crazy contraption!
  2. Teach your kids about fulcrums and levers whilst creating our mini marshmallow catapult!
  3. Find out about the force of friction whilst experimenting with inclined planes.

 

RubeGoldbergToyWIN A RUBE GOLDBERG TOY!

We are also running a competition to win one of these fantastic Rube Goldberg invention kits.

Win a Rube Goldberg ‘Acrobat Challenge’ toys this Science Week!

Science activities are fantastic opportunities for our children to learn about the world around them, but did you know that they also promote a whole host of other beneficial skills?

  • Experimenting with scientific themes encourages children to be critical thinkers and to question how and why things happen or work. This curiosity is at the core of wanting to be an engaged learner.
  • Science is hands on and experiential which has been proven to be one of the most effective ways for children to apply knowledge and understanding.
  • Carrying out a science activity is also a great way to tie in different subjects. For example, mathematical understanding has an important role to play when children are measuring and recording the results they find.
  • Aside from the technical skills of carrying out scientific enquiry, experimentation encourages children to be persistent. Science and engineering rarely works out the way you would expect it to the first-time round, and so trial and error play a huge part in developing scientific understanding!

 

Can’t wait to watch Jiwi’s Machines with your kids? Download Azoomee now and get started!

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IWD_Group6_Email_Blog
Mar 2
Mar 2

Happy International Women’s Day!

All week we’ve been celebrating the women in Azoomee. From inventors to explorers, great grans to spacewomen. Do you have a favourite?

IWD_Litterbugs

Meet Alice from Litterbugs the Movie Helped by her self-made flying mechanical creatures, Alice is a young inventor and pint-sized superhero who defeats the town bullies and finds an unexpected friendship. See the full short film on Azoomee.

IWD_Nan

Say hello to Gran! One of the stars of our online safety video series, Search it Up. Gran is not your typical grandmother, but quite trendy and up-to-date with the world of technology and social media. She is a steadying figure who makes an effort to relate to Maya and Jack, while helping them navigate the online world. Gran doesn’t always have all the answers, but she’s happy to be a guiding hand and learn with the kids.

IWD_Lottie

Here is a brilliant astronaut from our Lottie Dolls game. We love Lottie Dolls and whole-heartedly support their values of inclusivity; empowering children to be themselves, to be imaginative, adventurous and – most of all – to have fun. We are incredibly proud to have them on Azoomee.

IWD_Indiara

Meet Indiara – a girl who loves to collect ancient artefacts. Indiara has to get 8 gold skulls that are hidden in a cave full of traps! And to make matters worse, a gigantic rock is chasing Indiara! Will you escape the cave? Play now on Azoomee.

IWD_Goldblade

Meet Princess Goldblade, she must fight against dangerous waters in a classic jump and run game. Gather diamonds and avoid the creatures lurking in the waters. Find the most logical solutions and test your speed, accuracy and reactions to master all levels in this fun jump and collect game.

If there are any other characters you’d like to see on Azoomee, we’d love to hear! Tweet us @azoomeekids

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Safer Internet Day 2018
Feb 2
Feb 2

Azoomee featured in Parental Controls Safety Series for Safer Internet Day

Today (February 6, 2018) marks Safer Internet Day 2018. At Azoomee, this is a year round event and we’ve got parents, teachers and children covered with videos and free resources to help everyone stay smart, safe and kind online. You can view our videos and free resources on our Safer Internet Day page.

Safer Internet Day aims to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology for children and young people. The global campaign is coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre.

This year’s slogan is “Create, Connect and Share Respect: A better internet starts with you”, and people are encouraged to get involved with the #SID2018 social media campaign. There are over 900 supporters across the country, including schools and colleges, businesses, government organisations and police forces.

To help promote Safer Internet Day, Mobile Phones Direct launched a parental controls blog series, with advice and tips on keeping your children safe online from leading experts. Azoomee was named as one of the best parental control apps by the founder of My Gator Watch, Colleen Wong. Colleen appreciates our safe instant messaging as it allows children to do what they would naturally want to do, but in a more controlled environment.

Promoting safe online activity for children is at the heart of Azoomee, whilst providing fun, educational and entertaining puzzles, games and activities for children of all ages. When designed with young people and their safety at the core, children’s online experiences don’t have to be comprised; our instant messaging function allows children to message friends and family in a safe manner.

To view Mobile Phones Direct’s parental control guides, please visit the Mobile Phones Direct website.

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E Safety with Azoomee and Pobble
Feb 4
Feb 4

How our friends at Pobble promote e-safety

In this time of continuous technological advancement, it’s essential that schools and families are equipped with the best resources to keep their children safe and provide them with the knowledge to empower themselves.

It’s vital for schools to address online safety through a whole school approach. Providing safe educational platforms that build staff confidence and raise awareness for pupils and parents to promote safe behaviour online is the way forward. Platforms such as Pobble do just that, which is why Azoomee was proud to be able to partner with Pobble for Safer Internet Day to share our online safety resources with their community.

What is Pobble?

Teachers use Pobble to find the best teaching resources, to give pupils an audience for their work, and to make moderation of writing easier. For pupils, the platform offers a fantastic opportunity to engage with their peers. For parents, it provides a unique way to connect with their child’s learning journey. And all this is done in a safe, moderated online environment.

Promoting positivity with Pobble

Pobble allows teachers to share their pupils’ creative writing. This gives them an audience and a real purpose to write. The best part is that pupils of any age can independently and – importantly – safely interact with one another by commenting on the writing shared. Pobble guides pupils to give good quality feedback and encourages positive interaction, which is one of the best ways to motivate children to produce improved work. Promoting positivity amongst peers and providing indispensable skills.

Aiding E-safety and Internet use

As a teacher founded education company, Pobble ensures that their users of all ages stay safe. Teacher accounts are verified, comments on work are moderated, and it’s easy to flag something that you might like to hear a little less.

Teachers regularly say that using Pobble is a hugely valuable ‘dress rehearsal’ for the daunting world of the internet. Pupils actively contribute content, instead of just interacting with it and the children’s work is at the heart of the platform. This is what makes Pobble such an impactful platform in engaging children in reading and writing.

To find out about topics, children can quickly jump on to Pobble to search themes or specific text genres, in much the same way that we, as adults, would nip on to Google. By interacting with others on Pobble, pupils learn what is and isn’t appropriate and safe. All comments left on Pobble are checked by the Pobble team. All comments made by each of their pupils can be tracked by teachers and celebrated.

Finding the best e-safety resources

Azoomee and Pobble have recently partnered to bring educators the best Internet safety resources. Pobble allows you to search teaching resources from the best providers including the BBC, Teachit Primary and Hamilton Trust. Type ‘e-safety’, safer internet or whatever else you’re teaching about in the search bar to discover great teaching ideas and ready-made lessons.

Pobble: a global community of teachers, pupils, families and. Join for free today: https://www.pobble.com/welcome

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blog-new
Jan 4
Jan 4

Eight Digital Resolutions for You and Your Family

New year, new gear, shiny new tablets under the tree – it’s a great opportunity to get some resolutions in place for the kind of digital life you want for you and your family.

First things first, technology is here to stay, so embrace it. Let’s not get into the habit of saying, “when I was young we talked to each other, made mud pies and played board games”, because kids today are still doing all those things. But they have the internet too, and they need our help both practically and emotionally to make the best of it. So, let’s jump on board, but just make sure your seatbelt is fastened and you’re in the driving seat.

OK, ready? Let’s go!

  1. Get stuck in – if your kids are enjoying a game or an app, understand why – play it, engage with them about it. Bridge that gap and avoid being perceived as out of touch, you might enjoy it too!
  2. Seek out the good stuff – there is SO much great content online; engaging, creative, inspiring games, videos and social communities, but it’s also incredibly easy to find yourself aimlessly scrolling. So, let’s be mindful. Choose the good stuff for yourself, and help guide your children’s choices too. We love the Digital 5-a-day from the Children’s Commissioner.
  3. Take charge – as you reach for your phone for the 100th time today, ask yourself who is in control – you or your phone? Fight the urge to respond to every notification, maybe that means turning them off, maybe it means setting aside a time to respond. But either way, know that you absolutely are in control.
  4. Commit to a digital sundown – maybe it’s 6pm for them and 8pm for you. All that light before bed tells our brains it’s wide awake time, so make a bedtime for your devices and tuck them in.
  5. Review your privacy settings – this is something we are so guilty of putting our heads in the sand about, but it’s hugely important. Maybe start with downloading a copy of the data Facebook holds about you.
  6. Make the most of parental controls – there are so many ways you can be in control of what you want your children to access online whether via your broadband, or directly on tablets and smartphones. The NSPCC has all the information and ‘how to’ guides you need.
  7. Learn something new – if you feel like your kids are already outsmarting you online, then make this the year you get to grips with something new. Whether that’s understanding Snapchat, or learning a bit of coding with Run Marco on Azoomee.
  8. Set an example – if that beautiful account you follow on Instagram makes you feel like your home is a pigsty, maybe it is time to unfollow and cultivate a positive community. Or maybe you feel like you’re addicted to scrolling through social media at 11pm, if so, it’s time to take back control, both for yourself and to set an example for your kids. The links between social media and the emotional wellbeing of children and teenagers is something we are all increasingly mindful of, so start those conversations early about what’s real online and what’s not, how things can be designed to be addictive and how you have to be in control. There are some great videos to help start these conversations, like these Search It Up videos from Azoomee.

Have fun and happy 2018 all!

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smol2
Nov 3
Nov 3

It’s always cool to be kind

When it comes to raising our kids, what are the values that matter most? Honesty, humility, perseverance? For us, kindness is definitely up there. In fact, we might go as far as to agree with Roald Dahl who famously said “I think probably kindness is my number one attribute in a human being”.

But when we communicate and exchange online, it’s sometimes easy to forget that there are actual people on the other end. Between physical detachment and complete anonymity, the online world offers a degree of separation that can inhibit our sense of social awareness and kindness.

Our BAFTA nominated series Search It Up tackles this subject and much more, the episode, ‘Jackattack vs Robotron’, reinforces the message that how we act towards others online should not be all too different from offline. It’s a great conversation starter for talking about kindness online with your children.

When we choose videos and games for Azoomee we actively pick content that reinforces our values of being smart, safe and kind. Here are a few top picks:

  • Mily Miss Questions follows the adventures of Mily, a young girl who has an inquisitive mind and likes to learn the answers to all her questions. In each episode, a new question is posed as a result of an everyday occurrence and then it’s up to Mily to find out the answers – “What is friendship?”, “Should you always tell the truth?”…
  • Wacky World Beaters is about two crazy hosts travelling around the world to participate in the most ridiculous competitions, but they learn about places and cultures along the way reinforcing the message that we are all different, and all equal.
  • Litterbugs is a quirky heart-warming short family movie that asks why is it so bad to be different? Watch how inventor Alice and Captain Stanley stand up to the town bullies. With a little help from their mechanical friends, this unlikely duo has the last laugh in this meaningful short film!

Want to discover some more resources and charities helping make the world a kinder place? Here’s a few for starters…

52 Lives – 52 Lives aims to change someone’s life every week of the year. It is based on the simple premise that people are good. And lots of good people working together can achieve amazing things.

Be Cool Be Nice – BE COOL BE NICE (BCBN) is a global movement sparked by one teen’s struggle and flamed by the staggering fact that one in five young people will be a victim of cyber bullying. Adopted by celebrities, style icons, artists and leaders across the globe BCBN has grown from a rallying cry into a multi-media collaboration to encourage the use of social media in a positive and proactive way and to advocate good manners on and offline.

Anti-Bullying Alliance – The Anti-Bullying Alliance is a coalition of organisations and individuals, working together to achieve a vision to: stop bullying and create safer environments in which children and young people can live, grow, play and learn.

The Diana Award – The Diana Award is a charity legacy to Diana, Princess of Wales’ belief that young people have the power to change the world. Their mission is to foster, develop and inspire positive change in the lives of young people.

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by-pad2
Nov 6
Nov 6

We love technology, but we love humans more

It would have been hard to miss the huge number of stories in the press this week surrounding the safety, or otherwise, of kid’s content on the internet. Articles including ‘YouTube accused of ‘violence’ against young children over kids’ content’ and ‘Something is wrong on the internet’ might have had you throwing your tablets onto the bonfire and not without due cause.

The fact remains that algorithms simply can’t catch everything, especially not on platforms that are designed predominantly for advertising and to profit from direct and indirect advertising.

Creating or developing anything for children requires a bottom-up, not top-down approach to do it right. Azoomee is all bottom-up and for us this is the only way. All our content is hand-picked by teachers and parents – we’re powered by humans, not robots.

When our children visit the library they browse the children’s section, when they watch TV they go to the children’s channels, so how do we manage the vastness of the internet? It is a wonderful thing, it really is, how else would we answer the relentless and obscure questions that are thrown at us between mouthfuls of Weetabix at 6:30am? But until our children are old enough to be exposed to the good and the bad of the internet, we have a duty as caregivers and as a society, to make a safe space for them.  What are your choices?

  • Be in the know. Share their screen time, ask what they enjoy and how the games work
  • Implement guided access or ‘app pinning’ for younger children to keep them from accidently browsing around
  • Make an active choice about which apps and websites you allow them to use and explain why
  • Talk, talk, talk. Conversation is everything. The Search It Up online safety series is a great place to get those conversations started about privacy issues, security and cyber-bullying

Azoomee time is so much more than screen time – it’s a way to learn new skills like coding, dance and football, to practice safe online behaviour and stay in touch with family and friends safely.

But above all, it is smart, safe and kind in all it contains, no ads, no algorithms – just great entertainment for kids. Simple.

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Jess-Butcher-Photo-small
Aug 6
Aug 6

Co-founder of Blippar, Jess Butcher, joins Azoomee’s board

Jess Butcher, Non-Executive Director, Azoomee

Like most people I can be defined many ways. My definitions include technology entrepreneur, business woman, media spokeswoman and business mentor – and it is under these that I normally write, speak and am known outside of my private circle of friends and family.  But it is the definitions of wife and mother that I hold dearest, that fulfil me best and which, if I’m honest I often struggle to square with my other definitions.

My day job for the last 6 years as co-founder of Blippar has been to encourage the world to put their phones between them and the real world – to use the lens, its ‘eye’ to look at and unlock the physical world using image recognition and augmented reality (or just a bit of ‘magic’ for those less interested in the technical definitions). But it has always been a bit of a quandary for me as someone from the pre-smartphone generation to bring up my children in a world of touch screens. My generation’s childhood memories are of playing outside, using our imaginations and experiencing the world with our eyes and hands and as such, I much prefer the idea of my children collecting mental snapshots to obsessing about accumulating rose-tinted Instagram memories; smiles before smilies; emotions without emoticons.

I am blessed with an amazing husband, three beautiful children under 4 and most precious of all, our combined health.  I feel incredibly grateful most of the time but I wouldn’t say I’m a great mother. I’m a ‘normal’ mother – loving, funny and silly one minute and snappy, frustrated and exhausted the next.  I hate that my kids don’t always know which mummy they’ll find (or that their night (mis)behaviours may have fundamentally affected this). The self-deprecating, slummy-mummy type blogs appeal to me as hilarious, if unnerving mirrors on my world.  They are written by kindred spirits wrestling with the same emotions from aching love, delight and amusement to terror, guilt and occasional fury.

I worry constantly.  How many is too many sweets?  Juice or water? ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ or ‘Who let the dogs out?’ Can a child overdose on Calpol? Can I really be bothered to change a heavy, just wet nappy? And perhaps one of the biggest: tablets – friend or foe? How much is too much screen time?

What started with the CBeebies app for 20 minutes or so a day has developed into my three year old deftly tapping in and out of over 30 different pre-school apps, navigating Spotify playlists, turning the Wi-Fi on and off – and what I previously considered the biggest parenting sin of all – watching Paw Patrol in a crowded restaurant, just for a moment’s peace for Mummy.  With each new app discovery and the tantrums that then came from my knee-jerk rationing, my guilt was growing and I started to think harder on the subject.  Herewith, my conclusions:

Screens are not a passing fancy or transitional vogue, they are here to stay. Just as mass publishing was invented, comic books, the radio, television, kids’ television and computer games – and through their existence our recreational habits changed fundamentally, so screens are now an inherent part of modern life. They have irrevocably altered our connectedness, our media consumption, and most wonderfully, provide access to all the accumulated knowledge in the world – with information on anything and everything just a few taps away.   Kids today are incredibly lucky to be born with immediate access to this wealth of information and I believe it is our jobs as parents to help them navigate it safely, not to restrict it or risk abstinence resulting in obsession.  Children have always tired of any single medium and tablets are no different – with guidance and in balance, they can be a glorious gift to this snotty, short attention-spanned generation.  So what specific rules can or should we apply?

Here are some of those that have occurred to me, as a mum of pre-schoolers, as a technology entrepreneur and as, I hope, a responsible member of society:

  • Enjoy screen time together. Just as reading books together is valuable bonding time, so can screen time be.  Games, interactive stories, even the most mundane kids TV programs can be laughed at, enjoyed and discussed together
  • Interactive education is proven to increase recollection by upwards of 60%. There are a wealth of interactive educational apps on all the app stores offering self-guided, entertaining literacy, numeracy, scientific, arty and imaginative games
  • Curate the content available.  Research the apps best reviewed by other parents. Avoid those with heavy advertising or locked, premium levels
  • Understand the child-safety tools that all tablets come in-built with, locking them out of certain content and applications, requiring pass-codes and with time-locks (see NSPCC guidelines for more).
  • Encourage communication with friends and family.  From facetime with Nanna in anther country to parentally-controlled and wall-gardened messaging tools designed for our children to message us and their friends, telling us what they’re doing, creating and learning.
  • Keep them off the big bad web for as long as possible (and I admit, I may not yet be qualified at understanding the full risks here with three currently illiterate children, incapable of tapping something seemingly innocuous into a search bar. I’ll update this list in a few years time!)

All these musings meant that I was utterly delighted to be invited to join the board of a company called Azoomee earlier this summer.  Their whole raison d’etre is to create a single, safe app environment that encompasses all of the above – entertainment, education and creativity using film, audio books, gaming, art-tools and safe messaging. A guilt-free ‘nanny’ app for primary school age children where all content is vetted and advertising-free.  As a business woman, the model and opportunity to work on a high potential business of this kind hugely appeals to me.  But as a mother, it appeals even more so.

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