Amazon is introducing new tools to help parents see what their kids are doing on the company’s Fire tablets. As a bonus, Amazon says its service will also help spark discussions about the books kids read and the videos they watch. Parents first have to sign up with Amazon’s FreeTime service, a set of tools for pre-approving how much time kids spend on a tablet and what they do with it. The FreeTime service is free, as is the new dashboard tool.
Then they’ll be able to view each child’s activities through Amazon’s website. Information will include the amount of time spent on e-books, videos, apps and web browsing. Parents will also see 90 days’ worth of details such as the specific books read and videos watched — and how long the child spent on each.
The service will also suggest some questions and activities, with open-ended questions designed to avoid classic single-word responses from kids. For the book “Captain Awesome vs. Nacho Cheese Man,” for instance, suggested discussion topics include questioning assumptions and assessing the role incorrect assumptions have on friendships.
The dashboard tool also works with FreeTime Unlimited, a $3-and-up monthly subscription that offers over 10 million kids (and their parents) the perfect balance between giving kids the freedom of choice and unlimited access to the content they love, while providing parents peace of mind that what their kids are viewing on their devices is age-appropriate. Parents have the ability to hand-select content, set educational goals and set screen time limits by content type, and the FreeTime web browser lets kids have access to over 40,000 age-appropriate YouTube videos and websites that have been hand-curated by the FreeTime team.
Additionally, while in FreeTime, kids do not have access to social media and can’t make in-app purchases. FreeTime is available as a free app or as a paid subscription option, Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which offers unlimited access to popular content from Disney, Nickelodeon, PBS Kids, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and more.