After creating a parental Tocomail account, you create real email accounts for your kids, and then add the addresses of approved contacts — those your child can send to and receive from. (Nothing else gets through, in either direction.) You can also choose how complex the interface is for each child. When creating a new email message, the app provides simple tools for typing text, drawing, painting, stamping, and even taking photos or using existing ones. The app even supports push notifications, so your kids can experience the same thrill (or annoyance) we adults get when new mail arrives. As the "administrator," you can view your kids' inboxes at any time to be sure they're using email appropriately (and correctly!).
Tocomail is free, but a $30-per-year subscription gives you additional features, such as an expanded approved-contact list, a parental quarantine mailbox for messages from non-approved senders; a profanity filter; and an automated "bullying" monitor. The app is a little too simplistic at times, and a few of the interface decisions could use some refinement, but it's a nice system that lets your kids learn about email in a safe, monitored environment. — DAN FRAKES
Dan Moren: GoodReader
What is there left to say about Good.iWare's GoodReader ($5)? The jack-of-all trades — which runs $5 each for the iPhone and iPad version, and oh yes, I paid for both — has been on iOS for years now, and it's still among the best document readers/file managers on the platform — plus, it's one of the few apps that I use almost every single day.
For me, its killer features are easy access to Dropbox and the ability to mark up and annotate PDFs. While it's not perfect at the latter (I long for the day when I can easily specify font sizes larger than 20 pt.), the app remains the most versatile tool on my iOS devices. The only thing I'd change? The name: It's not just a good reader, it's a great reader.
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