ZillyDilly (www.zillydilly.com) is a free app for the iPad. In a nutshell, ZillyDilly was designed to give parents some control over the content that their child views on the Internet. What’s interesting about it is that it isn’t just another “kid-friendly” browser; it’s actually a curated media manager. ZillyDilly lets children explore thousands of websites that have been curated by ZillyDilly using a panel of more than 25 different criteria. This gives children a more “sanitized version” of the Internet rather than an Internet portal with some protections built into it. As you can imagine, that’s a huge plus for parents because it means their child can’t circumvent filters and get to inappropriate content like they can with some of the other “child-friendly” web browsers.
Account creation for ZillyDilly was very straightforward, but the same can’t be said about customization. In order to give your child access to websites in ZillyDilly, you need to go through a curated list of websites and manually select each one. The list is quite comprehensive as it has a wide variety of website categories, most of which are informational and entertaining, and all age-appropriate. Unfortunately, there is no way to quickly sort through them other than the search bar. Instead of listing the sites in alphabetical order they’re listed based on the rating given by Dr. Eitan D. Schwarz, a professional psychiatrist, making it confusing to find the sites you’re looking for. If you’re trying to build a large list of approved sites, this can become quite frustrating.
When it comes to setting time limits, the application automatically determines what the time limit will be based on the percentage of time your child uses the iPad for non-school reasons. You can set it so that there aren’t any time limits at all, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that parents don’t have the option to manually configure time limits for their child. The lack of customization of this feature was disappointing, especially since “setting time limits” is a feature that is prominently displayed on the ZillyDilly iTunes page.
That aside, ZillyDilly is worth checking out if you’re in the market for a safe, age-appropriate web browser for your child’s iPad. It has a broad selection of websites to choose from, including categories such as “Family Relationships” and “Socialization”. That being said, customization might feel like a chore. In today’s media-centric world where app developers are working to make the user experience as seamless as possible, ZillyDilly seems like a relic. With the implementation of better organization options, customizable time limits and faster loading times, ZillyDilly would be on-par with the rest of the products in the mobile safe web-browsing genre.