Totlol is a safe video site for kids built by parents for parents. The idea for Totlol came about after Michael Avni, one of the founders and father of 3, discovered that even after setting parental controls on all of his computers and mobile devices, his little girl still stumbled upon an inappropriate video.
Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. Kapersky Lab found that kids, clicking on YouTube’s suggested videos displayed beside children’s programs, were just three clicks away from adult content. In 3 clicks, kids can go from counting Elmo to swearing Elmo. YouTube’s safety mode helps, but with 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, it is impossible to check every video. This is where Totlol comes in.
Totlol is a free curated video site for kids under 12. Instead of trying to block inappropriate content, Totlol starts by uploading only kids safe videos. Who decides what videos to upload? Parents.
To find out more about how Totlol works, I talked with Tiffany Stelman, CEO. She explained to me about how they go to great lengths to ensure every video is kid-safe. “Currently everyone can upload videos but before they enter our database of videos, we are the final hurdle of approval, so every video is going through us.”
Parents not only upload videos, they also rate them. If parents disagree about what videos a 10 year old can watch, Tiffany says they can flag the video. “When a parent thinks a videos isn’t appropriate for that age group they can flag this specific video, which sends a warning to us and we check it. We consult child experts and make the call whether we should ban this video or not. However, any user can build his or hers own ‘favorites’ list which will include ONLY their approved videos.”
Totlol is available on a desktop computer and as a mobile app. Before downloading the app, parents will first need to register on their computer. Totlol operates in two modes – parent and kid. In parent mode, parents have a full dashboard where they can upload videos and set up and manage individual accounts for each child. In kids mode, Totlol transforms into a simple, video viewer. Here, kids can only watch videos available on Totlol or in their Totlol favorites. Kids can also watch these videos on their device by downloading the app. Once in kids mode, the viewer is locked and they cannot exit without entering the password.
My first impression, based on the videos and avatars, is it’s more geared towards a younger audience. Apparently, teens are also embracing this site. Tiffany commented that they were surprised to see “many of our users are actually teens who are uploading their favorite videos.” They are thinking about this age group and plan to release features that will be tailored to them in future versions.
If there is new device under the tree, you may want to try out Totlol. It is free and easy to set up. The app is available for download on iTunes. Parents and kids can use it on their iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. If you have an Android tablet, Totlol plans on launching an Android version in a few months.