I always write a lot about the great family features of Windows, but Amazon has also recognized the signs of the times and with Kindle FreeTime a very good solution is up its sleeve.
Kindle FreeTime in detail
Kindle FreeTime was developed by Amazon to help parents control and monitor their children’s use of tablets more easily. FreeTime extends the built-in control options for parents, giving them an easy and free way to determine how their children use their devices. You can create a separate profile for each child and define exactly which child can access which books, apps, games, movies and TV series. For example, you can restrict access to certain categories such as games and videos, but allow unlimited use of books. Kindle FreeTime is pre-installed as an app on many new Kindle Fire Tablets, as well as e-readers like Paperwhite and Voyage, but also on the new Fire TV.
Children using Kindle FreeTime actually have their own personalized tablet. Background and fonts are child-friendly and the kids only see the titles previously approved by their parents. The carousel on the home page shows recently used content. They can also be navigated through content using characters and themes such as “Cinderella”, “Dinosaur” or “Doggy”.
First learn, then play
The Kindle FreeTime “First Learn” feature puts learning content first. Exactly definable time limits allow parents to set daily goals for reading or playing learning games and block certain content until these required learning goals are achieved. Different time limits for different days of the week are also possible, as well as a bedtime so that Kindle FreeTime is only available at approved times of the day. With the new features, parents can now define additional, clearly defined learning goals for their children, such as 30 minutes of reading time per day. For younger children who are not yet able to read, FreeTime also provides the ability to set rules for the use of learning apps that teach toddlers to count, discover letters, or merge matching shapes.
It is also possible for parents to keep an eye on whether their children have reached the personal stamps before watching comics or playing games. They simply turn on the “First Learn” function, which hides all content from the child’s FreeTime library without any direct reference to learning until the daily learning or reading goals have been achieved. The most popular children’s apps and books on Amazon are already sorted by education and entertainment categories. So if parents want to define their goals for “learning first,” they can access this pre-sorting if they wish.
“We think Kindle Fire is the best tablet for kids and families,” said Jorrit Van der Meulen, vice president of Amazon Kindle. “With features like “Learn First,” parents can be sure that learning comes first before playing. They can also define daily learning goals for reading and learning.”
Sharing content with the family library
The new Family Library feature, which comes with the operating system update to Fire OS 4.0 “Sangria”, allows you to link your Amazon account with your partner’s Amazon account to share Prime Instant video, apps, games, audiobooks and books. The reason for this is that it is often difficult to understand who bought which book or which user account can be used for Prime Instant Video. Content access works on all Amazon devices as well as the Amazon apps for iOS and Android.
New individual profiles for each family member, shared content and Amazon FreeTime make life easier for both parents and children. Individual profiles are available for up to 2 adults and 4 children, allowing family members to share a tablet and still personalize settings such as email and social networking accounts and the carousel on the home page.
With Kindle FreeTime, children learn how to use a specially designed tablet. Parents no longer have to worry about the content they consume or the time they use. Kindle FreeTime cannot be terminated without a password.
“As parents, we would like to have a say in how our children use their electronic devices. This is often difficult in practice. We often have lengthy discussions with our children about how much time they are allowed to sit in front of the screen,” says Jorrit Van der Meulen, Vice President of Amazon Kindle. “With Kindle FreeTime, we want to make these situations easier for parents and give children a safe place to learn and play. Parents can choose certain content, set time limits and feel comfortable when they let the kids have their Kindle Fire.”
The special benefits for parents:
- Blue means FreeTime: the background color of the screen turns blue when Kindle FreeTime is on – even from the other end of the room it’s easy to check. The Kindle FreeTime feature can only be closed with a password.
- Time limits: Daily limits can be set for the time children spend on the screen, as well as time limits for individual activities.
- Parent approved content: Any content available on Kindle FreeTime is added by the parent. So it’s easy to determine what kids watch, what games they play, and what they read. Parents can choose from their own content as well as a variety of Amazon books, apps, and games for children. Amazon highlights child-friendly content, making it easy for parents to add content with a single click.
- Safe and controlled: In-App Purchasing and access to the Silk web browser and shops are disabled in Kindle FreeTime mode. Parents don’t have to worry about their children causing a bill or finding something that isn’t meant for their eyes.
Advantages for the kids:
- Personalized use: The children have their individual profile and therefore all content in Kindle FreeTime mode is their own. They don’t have to share a home screen with siblings or parents, and when someone else uses Kindle Fire, their bookmarks don’t get lost in a book.
- Easy handling: The navigation to the contents is suitable for children and is based on characters or themes. It is done by pictures – for example “Thomas the Tanker”, “Dinosaurs” or “Princesses”.
- Own selection: With personalized use tailored to their needs, children can choose what they want to do next without having to ask a parent for permission. Parents have already set time limits and selected approved content. So what Kindle FreeTime allows is already allowed by the parents.