Like it or not, Spotify has massively changed the way we listen to music over the last decade. Perhaps most profoundly changed is the experience of young listeners. Gone are the days of saving up allowances and birthday money for a trip to HMV or the iTunes store. Kids today have access to almost the entirety of modern music for free (or a modest fee). For young music fans, it’s a veritable horn of plenty. For parents, it can make the task of ensuring age-appropriate content that much more difficult.
Spotify has also branched out in recent years, now offering podcasts and audiobooks on the platform as well. Fortunately, the recently launched Spotify Kids offers an option for parents who want a safer platform for young listeners.
What is Spotify Kids—and is it actually safe for kids?
Spotify Kids is a locked-down version of the full streaming service, which offers a curated collection of kid-friendly playlists and audiobooks. Unlike Youtube Kids, which uses an algorithm to select for kid-friendly content, Spotify’s selection is hand-picked by “experts,” meaning everything your kid will have access to has been vetted by an actual human.
How to set up Spotify Kids
Spotify Kids is a standalone app, but you’ll need a Spotify Premium Family Plan to use it. This will run you $14.99 per month and lets up to six people stream unlimited audio from separate profiles in a single plan.
Spotify Kids can be downloaded from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store to your mobile device. Unfortunately, there isn’t a desktop version available currently.
Once you download the app, you can log in to your Premium Family Plan account. From here, you’ll be prompted to set up a PIN. This allows you to access the Grown-Ups section of the app, where you can make changes to the settings—so make sure it’s not a PIN your kids will know (or guess!).
You can then create up to five different kids’ accounts, each with its own unique settings. For each account, you can choose between two different age brackets. Audio for younger kids (0-6) includes things like nursery rhymes, bedtime stories, lullabies and more. Audio for older kids (5-12) will include age-appropriate pop music, soundtracks, playlists and audiobooks. Note that with this setting, kids may see more mature album art, but they won’t hear explicit lyrics.
You can access the Grown-Ups section of Spotify Kids with your PIN at any time to make changes to settings as needed. You’ll also have access to your kids’ listening history, through which you can block any additional songs or content you don’t want them listening to. Note that if you have separate profiles set up for multiple kids, you will have to block content in each profile individually.
You can also use the Grown-Ups section to share custom playlists from your own Spotify account with your kids. Keep in mind that Spotify Kids will not filter for explicit content in shared playlists, so keep an eye out for the little E (for explicit) beside any songs you want to share, and make sure you’re aware of the content of songs you’re sharing.
Is Spotify Kids right for your family?
Probably the biggest hurdle parents will find using Spotify Kids is that older kids might find it restrictive—particularly if they’ve had access to regular Spotify in the past. The design of the app (including bright colors and cute avatars) is certainly aimed more toward younger kids.
If your kid is particularly resistant to using Spotify Kids, regular Spotify does offer an option to filter for explicit content within the regular app. This is far from foolproof, however, as Explicit tags in Spotify are based on information provided by rights holders, so some explicit content may still make it through.
All in all, Spotify Kids is a great option for parents wanting to share and encourage a love of music in young kids, without exposing them to the whole wide world of music industry marketing just yet. It’s a particularly great option at no additional cost if you’re already subscribing to the Premium Family Plan. Happy listening!
Photo Credit: Africa Studio / Shutterstock