Great news! Not long after the roll-out of the Amazon Echo Kids Edition in early 2018, Amazon also rolled out its familiar FreeTime parental controls that you might recognize if you own an Amazon Kindle. Read more about FreeTime below!
Amazon Echo is a brand of smart speakers developed by Amazon. The devices connect to the voice-controlled, intelligent, personal assistant service, which responds to the name “Alexa”. The Echo “wake word” can be changed by the user to “Amazon”, “Echo,” or “Computer”.
To enable FreeTime on any Echo device:
Once it’s enabled, you can disable FreeTime by returning to the app menu and simply tapping the toggle next to FreeTime.
Related support article: How to Use Free Time on Echo
Once FreeTime is enabled, you will be able to toggle different Alexa features on and off for the devices using FreeTime.
To do this, go to parents.amazon.com. Devices you have set up with FreeTime enabled will be listed. There, you can adjust the age filter, disable access to other “smart” devices in the home and manage what music services they can access. You can also disable Calling & Messaging, Drop In and Amazon Music, or block junk by enabling an explicit filter to block explicit songs or entire music services on that particular device.
If your child has a tendency to continue using the Alexa speaker after bedtime, you can pause the device for anywhere between one and 12 hours.
For those with screen time concerns, a helpful feature is Daily Time Limits, which lets you set a maximum allowed time for things like apps, Audible, reading books or watching videos. You can also monitor your kids’ usage and see call and message history.
Related post: Screen Time. 5 Lessons for Parents and Educators.
We’re actually pretty impressed with what Amazon offers. If only Google knew families this well.
Q: How do I change the “wake word” on my Echo?
A: If you want to change the Echo “wake word,” read this article. Unfortunately, you can’t change it to whatever you want (maybe a future feature).
Q: How do I prevent my child from ordering 1,000 pizzas from the Echo?
A: You can require a pin or disable voice ordering altogether. You can set a pin in the Echo app.
Q: Can I connect my Echo to my Amazon Prime account?
A: Yes, which is awesome and potentially awful. Be sure to watch this video about setting parental controls on your Prime Account.
Q: Are there privacy concerns with Amazon Echo?
A: Absolutely. Every command is gathering intel about you and the people in your home. For this reason, make sure there are separate profiles set up for just the adults in your home and limit interaction with the Echo to the adults only. This article explains how to create voice profiles:
Related article: Amazon – How to Create an Echo Voice Profile
Would you like to delete everything that Amazon has on you and your family? This article from USA Today explain how you can do that.
Related article: How to Find all of Your Amazon Data and Delete it
Amazon is constantly adding new features to the echo, allowing it to interact in more of life’s everyday activities
The overall message here is that nothing is better than human-to-human interaction! The Echo runs the risk of replacing basic interactions. Does anyone remember being terrified of picking up the phone to call Little Caesar’s Pizza to order for their first sleepover? I do! And, since I got good at it, I was the perpetual pizza ordering-dude at sleepovers. This was a good thing. I knew how to interact with people and this skill has served me well.
Do we have an Echo? We sure do! It’s handy. It’s just worth being careful.
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