Amazon’s FreeTime service lets parents set up tablets and other Amazon devices for their kids, complete with hand-picked videos and books. But understanding those kids’ shows, that’s a whole different ball game.
Now Amazon wants to help out with that too. The company on Wednesday announced a pair of new features — Discussion Cards and Parents Dashboard — to help parents understand, monitor and relate to their kids’ entertainment.
Discussion Cards, written by Amazon content editors, allow parents to look up a specific Amazon FreeTime book, video, educational app or game to get more detail, including a summary and sample questions they can ask their child. The cards also suggest real world activities that complement a child’s favorite show or book.
“As kids learn and play more independently with their tablets, we want to provide parents with more ways to join in that digital discovery,” Kurt Beidler, Director of Kids and Family for Amazon, said in a statement. “Discuss Cards equip parents with information about an Amazon FreeTime book, video, educational app, or game their child is enjoying, and provide open-ended questions that parents can ask kids to spark conversations — and avoid the dreaded one-word response.”
Discussion Cards show up on the Parent Dashboard, a central website that lets parents see how much time kids are spending on their FreeTime profiles and monitor what types of programs they are watching or books they are reading. This allows parents who want to regulate screen time or set reading goals a handy tracking system.
Amazon said more than 10 million kids use its FreeTime service, which is available on devices like the Kindle Fire tablet and the Fire TV as a free app or a paid subscription. It includes access to a library of kid-friendly, shows, movies, books and other things. The service also prevents kids from buying things on their devices and restricts access to social media.
FreeTime Unlimited is the not free version of the service. Like all things Amazon, it includes benefits for Prime members. For a single child it is $4.99 a month, or $2.99 for Prime members. For a family with four children the service costs $9.99 per month, or $6.99 for Prime members.