The Kindle Fire’s web browser, Silk, is difficult to filter and doesn’t make a very good “training ground” for young internet users. As you’ll see below, we recommend turning the browser off and enabling the great parental controls that come on the device.
The following layers will help protect your kids from inappropriate exposures on their Kindle.
Remember, where kids use technology often dictates how they use their technology. We have strong opinions about controlling where kids use their tech.
Related post: The 5 Worst Places for a Kid to be Online
Remember, you are responsible for every digital click on your home’s network, and so for every device that uses your home’s WIFI network, have something in place to monitor who’s connected to your WIFI and control where they’re going. Two popular options for parents are:
We’ve recently found OpenDNS to be glitchy with our internet service, which is why we’ve moved to Clean Browsing’s clean DNS for every device in our home, including the router.
Give the Kindle a name. Go to Settings (Apps – Settings – Device Options) to give the Kindle a name, preferably one that implies both child and parental ownership, e.g., “Dad and Daughter’s Kindle”. This creates a culture of parental involvement in the device’s usage from the beginning. Maybe use a selfie with both of you in the picture as the profile picture.
This communicates very early on that all devices are co-owned. There’s no such thing as device privacy in the home! Every internet-ready device is co-owned with parents.
Create user profiles. Go to Settings (Apps – Settings – Profiles & Family Library) and customize each user profile.
Set up the Kindle Fire parental controls. Go to Settings (Apps – Settings – Parental Controls) where you can toggle off Silk web browsing, control the camera, set a parental controls password, control app purchases, etc.
**Special Note – there are a few additional parental control steps to disable in-app purchases, which when clicked, can provide internet access even if Silk is disabled. Follow the written instructions below and/or view the screen shots.
Filter the Silk browser (this step is only necessary if you keep the Silk browser active). Download a web filter. In the Amazon Appstore, there aren’t many filters to choose from, but Mobicip does work with Kindle Fire.
You won’t find it in the Amazon App Store, but you can follow these instructions for what to do (it’s called “side loading” when you use it on a Kindle). Covenant Eyes is also one of our fav’s, and it works on the Kindle Fire with its Android solution.
Enable Amazon’s Free Time to control screen time. The Free Time app can help parents monitor how long their kids use the device and gives parents great control. There’s a free version and a paid version – look for it in the Kindle App Store.
(May 21, 2018 Update) We’ve recently been made aware of a hidden doorway to the internet that cannot be turned off.
The Alexa App is “forced” on Kindle Fire. And, although you can block the app in the Settings, it doesn’t prevent you from searching for apps within Alexa, and getting into the Developer Terms within Alexa Apps. Once in there, a savvy kid can scroll down and find doorways to Twitter and more.
It was through these doorways that we were able to access a hidden, unfiltered search through Yahoo and Bing. This is upsetting. It’s an obscure doorway, and many kids won’t find it, but the only reason I know about it is because of a family who contacted me to tell me their son was watching porn through this doorway. There’s nothing you can do to turn this off (that we’re aware of).
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*There are affiliate links throughout this post because we’ve tested and trust a small list of parental control solutions. Our work saves you time! If you decide that you agree with us, then we may earn a small commission, which does nothing to your price. Enjoy!