Amazon FreeTime on Alexa adds Parental Controls and Family-Focused Features to Echo devices for Free

In conjunction with the release of the Echo Dot Kids Edition, Amazon is bringing FreeTime to existing Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus devices. FreeTime is what Amazon calls their advanced parental control options and family-focused features found on their hardware devices, like Fire tablets and Kindle ebook readers. A paid subscription called FreeTime Unlimited will also be available, which primarily adds access to kid-friendly content, but FreeTime features are free for all.

Once FreeTime is added to Alexa devices, parents will be able to use the Parent Dashboard to choose which services and skills their kids can use and much more. It will provide insight into how your kids are using Alexa, such as which skills they are using and how much time they spend in each one.

Parents will also be able to set time limits for specific Alexa activities. A bedtime cutoff can be set to keep kids from using Alexa at night or you can select to pause Echo devices at will for things like dinner or homework time.

Parents will be able to block playback of music with explicit lyrics. This feature will only work for Amazon Music at first, but Amazon says they’ll continue to add compatible music services over time.

An interesting feature of FreeTime for Alexa is something Amazon is calling Magic Words. Amazon says Alexa will give kids positive reinforcement when kids use the word “please” while asking questions. Additionally, if kids say “Alexa, I’m bored,” the voice assistant will have age-appropriate suggestions at the ready.

Amazon FreeTime on Alexa will be available May 9th after a software update rolls out to existing devices. Only the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Dot Kids Edition, and Echo Plus will have these new features. It doesn’t seem like devices with screens, like the Echo Show or Echo Spot, will receive these parental controls and kid-focused features.

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5 comments
  1. Garrett says:

    Does this mean if you already have a paid Freetime Unlimited Subscription that you can just purchase the $49 Echo Dot and it’ll be exactly what the new Kids Edition Echo Dot will be or would there still be different things specifically for the Kids Edition? Didn’t want to pay $80 when I could just buy one for $49 and it’ll turn it into same thing once I add my Freetime to it and the new update rolls out 5/9. Hope anyone has insight to this.

    • AFTVnews says:

      Yes, if you already have FreeTime Unlimited, you get everything new at no additional cost. So if you buy the $49.99 Echo Dot instead of the $79.99 Kids Edition, then the only thing you don’t get is the case and the 2-year guarantee.

  2. Kevin says:

    And the Tap is left behind again…… Sad, really. It’s a pretty nice device but they don’t support it enough.

  3. Mel says:

    If you already have a paid FreeTime Unlimited subscription and purchase the Echo Dot Kids Edition, which comes with 1 year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, am I able to apply that to my account and stop my payment for that year?

  4. k w says:

    This article is incorrect when it says “A paid subscription called FreeTime Unlimited will also be available, which primarily adds access to kid-friendly content, but FreeTime features are free for all.”

    I bought a new Echo Dot and tried to set it up and was told I can only get Parental Controls if I bought a paid subscription called FreeTime Unlimited, even though I do not kid-friendly content, I have to subscribe to get FreeTime features.

    Amazon was adamant about this. If you have other info from the company, do share.

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