Amazon is going for the kids’ market with the launch of Echo Dot Kids Edition and Amazon FreeTime and FreeTime Unlimited on Alexa.
Free Time has been ported over from Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablets. It brings parental controls and family-focused features to Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Plus for no cost.Free Time enables parent to set time limits to stop kids’ overusing their Echo Dot or to pause the device for dinner or homework time.
Parental Controls enables parents to use the Dashboard and Alexa app to choose which services and skills kids can use, and turn off voice purchasing. They can also block explicit songs and see what their kids have been doing with Alexa. There’s even a ‘Magic Word’ feature that offers positive reinforcement when kids use the word “please” while asking questions of Alexa.
Amazon FreeTime on Alexa will roll out to existing Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus owners via a free, over-the-air software update starting on 9 May.
Amazon FreeTime Unlimited is an all-new content subscription service for Echo devices. It offers access to over 300 Audible kids’ books; kid-friendly, ad-free radio stations and playlists; character alarms; and premium Alexa skills from Disney, Nickelodeon, National Geographic. It costs $2.99 per month for Prime members, and is available at no extra cost for existing FreeTime Unlimited members.
The Echo Dot Kids Edition sells for $79.99 and comes with all the FreeTime parental controls features, one year of FreeTime Unlimited family plan, a kid-friendly case, and a 2-year guarantee. It will begin shipping on 9 May.
Stephen Balkam, founder and CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute, said: “We are excited to see Amazon bring FreeTime to Alexa. The curated content and user experience has all been designed with kids, parents, fun and safety in mind. In our latest research report, FOSI found that the majority of parents were comfortable with their child using a smart speaker, and by making this service available, Amazon is creating another safe, kid-friendly experience for families.”