It’s the digital equivalent of the classic parental mandate: “Not until you do your homework!”
It’s also the latest example of Amazon’s attempt to automate practically everything.
An update for Amazon’s Kindle FreeTime subscription service, announced this morning, will allow parents to keep their kids from watching cartoons or playing games on the latest Kindle Fire HD and HDX tablets until they’ve spent a certain amount of time — specified by the parents and automatically enforced by the software — using educational apps and content.
The new “Learn First” feature builds on Amazon’s existing attempt to appeal to parents with the FreeTime service. The company says all of the content in the FreeTime subscription service will be classified as education or entertainment, and the new feature will automatically remove all non-educational content from the tablet until the kid has met a daily reading or educational goal.
Other new features include the ability to set a bedtime, keeping FreeTime from working after a specified time of day; and the ability to set different time limits for weekends and weekdays.
FreeTime offers a large library of kids’ content and apps, along with parental controls, for a subscription of $4.99/month, or $2.99/month for people with existing $79/year Amazon Prime accounts. Amazon says the FreeTime update, rolling out in the “coming weeks,” will also add thousands of new books, apps, videos and games to the service.
Further down the road, the company says it will also give parents the ability to add digital books borrowed from the public library or Kindle Owners’ Lending Library to FreeTime for access by their kids.
No doubt someday Amazon will enlist its drones to start teaching our kids, as well.