Kids Sonos App?

  • 29 November 2016
  • 4 replies

Our two young girls (6 and 😎 love using Sonos, but I'm concerned as to what they have access to, in terms of content, and also settings. It's also quite easy to get lost. We have Sonos through the house, except their bedrooms, for obvious reasons.

I think Sonos should consider developing a child friendly app that has certain permissions (for example can only play music from a local NAS, or stream music from Spotify that is child related). Alternatively, and probably easier to develop, a permissioned adult could create fix/locked playlist/s that the Kids App could access and play from, but nothing else. Limits on volume levels would also be a handy feature!

Should Sonos develop a child friendly 'Kids App'

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4 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +22
I voted no.

- Most tech savvy 8 year olds would be able to download the "Adult" version of the app before you got made their toast in the morning.
- iOS devices can already do this to some extent using guided access.
- The second time the kids put the volume to maximum they have the access to Sonos removed. Valuable life lesson learnt.
- Explicit content filtering is a problem - we know that not all the Music Services take any notice of explicit flags when going via Sonos (That's not Sonos' fault by the way).
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
I voted no as well. Not to say Sonos doesn't absolutely need a version or lockdown (I call Party Mode).

If done right a party mode could limit sources, volume, rooms available, settings etc.

So not exactly kid mode (to specific) but a limited mode.
Userlevel 1
I've been looking for a way for my kids to enjoy Sonos and have a relatively straightforward set of requirements (or at least I thought they were straightforward until I started searching for a solution!).

1) A kid-friendly interface that's easy to navigate
2) No access to any set-up features
3) The ability to restrict access to certain speakers
4) The ability to set a maximum volume for those speakers
5) A means of excluding songs that contain explicit lyrics

It's now clear to me that no such solution currently exists, but I have found a workaround using a third party app called ZonePlay which has now been downloaded to my kids' iPad Minis. To help others that may have similar requirements to my own listed above, here's how it measures up...

1) PASS -- the interface to ZonePlay is much simpler than the standard Sonos app. It's easy to navigate, because the features are pretty limited (it's mainly aimed at people who want to access their favourites quickly and simply).
2) PASS -- the app doesn't try to duplicate any of the set-up features of Sonos. You need the official app for that.
3) FAIL -- unfortunately all the speakers are available, so this particular requirement is met by telling the kids which speakers they're allowed to control. If they intentionally and repeatedly break the rules, I'll be removing the app from their iPad!!!!
4) FAIL -- there's no limit on the volume controls, so same approach as (3).
5) PASS (kind of) -- this was always going to be the hardest requirement to meet since it seems that none of the streaming services play nicely with Sonos with regards to parental controls (let's not get into the debate about who's fault that is!!!). However, my solution is to only store Sonos favourites or Sonos playlists that I'd be happy for the kids to listen to, and let them choose their own favourites too (which I can add for them via the official Sonos app provided they're suitable). ZonePlay provides access to the Sonos favourites/playlists but doesn't allow you to search for other music. I use Deezer as our only music source, so if there are any albums or playlists I like that aren't suitable for my kids, I can add them to "MyMusic" in Deezer and they won't show up in ZonePlay.

I appreciate there are various compromises I've had to make, but I'm happy with the overall outcome. My kids are now allowed to access our Sonos system (within reasonable limits) and choose music they want to listen to (from the favourites). if they prove they can stick to the rules, I've promised to get them Play:1s for their bedrooms.

Hope this helps anyone in a similar situation to myself.

Having a parental control option within the main Sonos app for young children would help many customers. Take for instance my particular case with my 5 year old. She would be perfectly capable using an app like that because she uses YouTube kids flawlessly with any TV in my house using Chromecast and she has been doing so for the last 3 years.

I use an app to lock down the apps my daughter can use/install/tamper with, as any tech savvy parents would. It also makes sure in app purchases are impossible.

I guess my question is why not, and the people who voted NO obviously just don't understand how it would add value to your product. Any person that has sonos throughout the house and has a playlist for their child has probably noticed it missing from the app already.

As of now she can only play her playlist in her room by pressing play to start the last played playlist, I, like many customers with young children, would love to let young children control what music on her playlist is playing in any room.

App Example:
The app could be the full app in "Child Mode" requiring a pin to leave the last selected playlist. With only access to the playlist and available sonos groups, as well as a volume limiter.

If you don't do it a competitor will beat you to it, plain and simple.