Amazon launched its Fire Kids Edition tablet with the intention of giving peace of mind to parents who give their kids access to the latest technology. To make sure content available on kids’ Kindles is appropriate, Amazon content editors whitelist sites and YouTube videos as safe for kids. The tablets are aimed at kids between the ages of three and 12 and have 10 million users worldwide, according to Amazon, though it won’t say how many users have bought a subscription for access to premium content. Kids also can’t make in-app purchases in FreeTime. (The FTC recently fined the company over unauthorized in-app game purchases made by users’ children as they played on Amazon devices.)
The Amazon parent dashboard will have moderators approving everything kids can access on the device, including more than 8,000 books and 40,000 white-listed webpages. The dashboard lives at parents.amazon.com and can be accessed from any web browser and is completely free.
The Parent Dashboard, which parents can access through their own Amazon accounts, displays how much time a child has spent using their tablet and breaks it down into four categories: books, videos, apps, and the web. You can click on each category in the dashboard to see what your kids have been reading or playing. Parents can go into the FreeTime app on their children’s Kindles to make changes to time restrictions and settings.
Amazon has said the idea came from parent feedback. All parents using FreeTime, including the free version, will have access to Parent Dashboard.
Amazon is also launching what it calls “Discussion Cards.” These are like cheat notes for adults on what their kids are doing. Each card contains a summary of whatever the book, app, or video is, as well as some questions parents can ask to start a conversation. These cards also link out to the review page if you’re curious what other parents are saying about a particular item. The questions and summaries are pulled from various sources, like app developers, movie studios, teacher’s guides, publishers, and CommonSense Media, but again, Amazon’s moderation team approves everything that shows up on these cards.