Spotify Kids parents’ guide: everything you need to know
It’s no exaggeration to say that Spotify has changed the way we listen to music.
Young people today are used to being able to listen to whatever they want, wherever they are – and either for free or for a set monthly fee.
We won’t go into whether this is a good thing for artists or the music industry as a whole, but it is a fact.
So what does this tectonic shift mean for children? Well, where once they might have had their own record player or CD Walkman, with a collection carefully curated by parents and relatives, young music fans may now have access to anything they choose to listen to. And that includes songs that you might not want them hearing.
Although Spotify is no longer the only game in town – the likes of Apple Music and Amazon Music offer a similar service – it’s the only one that’s attempted to address this by launching a dedicated Kids app.
So how does Spotify Kids work? And is it right for your child? Here’s our full parents’ guide.
What is Spotify kids?
Spotify kids is a stand-alone music streaming app for Android and iOS devices, designed specifically for children.
The app lets children listen to their favourite music and audio with their own account, without hearing explicit content, and listen to playlists made just for young listeners.
It is available exclusively for Spotify Premium Family subscribers. A Kids profile counts as 1 account in a Premium Family plan. You can create up to 5 Kids accounts for your Family plan, and download the app to as many devices as you want.
You can get a month’s free trial for Premium Family, otherwise it’s £14.99 a month.
How is it different from the main Spotify app?
As the marketing blurb has it, Spotify Kids is aimed at ‘the next generation of listeners’. Essentially, it’s designed specifically with kids in mind. This means that they can browse the music library without fear of them coming across explicit content.
The specially curated playlists revolve around fun and educational activities and topics, such as ‘songs about space’, ‘outdoor fun’ and ‘homework beats’.
The visuals are colourful and fun and it’s very easy for children to navigate. Once you sign up, kids can choose from an array of 12 animated avatars.
Spotify kids offers two age brackets: Audio for older kids, which is aimed at children aged 5-12 and audio for younger kids which is for those aged 0-6.
Audio for older kids is ‘for kids into chart pop, TV and film hits, bedtime stories, background music for gaming and homework’. Spotify Kids warns that ‘mature album art may appear, but the audio is appropriate for kids’.
Audio for younger kids includes ‘nursery rhymes, bedtime stories, children’s songs, lullabies and much more’.
Will my child be able to access inappropriate content?
Spotify Kids’ playlists are created by a group of editors, and are deemed to be child-friendly.
However, there is a ‘Grown-ups’ section, which allows you to change the age bracket, view listening history, block specific songs, and delete your child’s account.
To access the ‘Grown-ups’ area, tap on the avatar, and then the Settings symbol. From there you will be asked to enter your chosen PIN.
To block specific songs:
- Log into the Grown-ups section of Spotify Kids.
- Tap the account you want to manage.
- Head to Listening History.
- From here, tap the block icon beside a track to hide it.
- You can unblock content at any time by revisiting the PIN-protected Listening History or Blocked Content and tapping the icon again.
Once hidden, that song won’t be visible anywhere in the child’s app. Note that blocking a song only removes it from that child’s account.
The ‘Grown ups’ section of the app is protected by a PIN, which you create when you first set up the account
To change your PIN:
- Tap the child’s avatar in the top-left.
- Tap Grown-ups.
- Tap Forgot PIN?
- Continue through the flow to log back in to the app and set a new PIN.
To change the type of audio the child hears
- Tap the child’s avatar in the top-left.
- Tap Grown-ups.
- Enter your Spotify Kids app PIN.
- Tap CHANGE and choose between Audio for older kids or Audio for younger kids.
What else should parents know?
It won’t collect location data (region restrictions are based on whatever the parent’s account is set to). The name and age you enter for each Spotify Kids account is fully encrypted.
Spotify only saves data related to what songs a kid is playing and favoriting and it says that data will neither be sold nor shared with third parties for advertising purposes.
Children towards the upper end of Spotify Kids’ 0-12 age bracket may feel restricted by the music choices on offer – particularly if they’ve previously been using the main app.
Although most popular artists are included, you won’t find full catalogues for any. Even the likes of The Beatles don’t have all of their songs in the Kids app.
They may also find the cutesy artwork to be a bit childish. And bear in mind too that there is an option to restrict explicit content within the main app.
While parental controls of the kind found in Spotify Kids can be a useful tool for parents, they don’t eliminate risk completely. Ensuring your child can recognise and respond to challenges is the best way of helping them gain digital resilience.
Spotify Kids: The Parent Zone verdict
Spotify Kids is a fun, simple app to give children some creative expression in a safe musical environment – albeit one that won’t suit all age groups.
It’s easy to navigate, looks good and does exactly what you’d expect it to. For younger children in particular it could kickstart a lifelong love of music.
Though £14.99 a month is a bit pricey if you don’t already have a Spotify Premium Family account, it doesn’t cost any extra if you do have one – so if you fit into that category and have a young child it comes highly recommended.