Kindle Fire HD
The Complete Guide to Kindle Fire Parental Controls
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.
We recommend 3 Layers of Kindle Fire protection:
- Layer 1: Guard the location of the Kindle Fire.
- Layer 2: Love your router (WiFi)!
- Layer 3: Set up the Kindle Fire correctly.
Layer 1: Guard the location of the Kindle.
Remember, where kids use technology often dictates how they use their technology. We have strong opinions about controlling where kids use their tech. For example, let’s keep all internet-ready devices out of bedrooms at night, where kids take more risks, and sleep is constantly interrupted.
Just know that the combination of boredom, bedrooms, and darkness (the Toxic Trio) can be tempting spots to make bad digital choices (whether you’re 14 or 40 years old!).
Related post: The 5 Worst Places for a Kid to be Online
Layer 2: Love your WiFi (router)!
The Router is the most important digital hardware in the house! And, it’s often the most ignored. We joke that routers are the social distance champion of technology. But, get this part of your internet safety plan correct! You are responsible for every digital click on your home’s network, so be sure to control the router.
Popular options for parents are:
- Gryphon Advance Security & Parental Controls router. We have really enjoyed the Gryphon. Top-notch set of parental controls. This is the router used by our CEO, Chris, with his four children. It gives you time control, YouTube Restricted Mode, and more. Easy set-up and a parent app that allows you to pause the internet with one touch.
- Alternatively, if you love your current router, but simply want to exert more control over it, then we recommend Bark Home. It connects to your router, giving you stronger parental controls over your home’s network. It’s not a router, but connects to your router. Easy-to-use app for you to exert screen time and app control over your kid.
Layer 3: Set up the Kindle Fire correctly.
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 by parents.
Create user profiles. Go to Settings (Apps – Settings – Profiles & Family Library) and customize each user profile.
Set up Kindle’s free parental controls
- Swipe down from the top of the screen, exposing a series of options, and tap Settings (the gear icon).
- Tap Parental Controls and toggle it on.
- Enter a password that your kid doesn’t know (this is different than the Kindle’s lock screen passcode). You’ll notice a few things happen.
- By default, this will block Alexa, the Silk web browser, email, contact, calendars, and the camera. You can choose to turn any of them back on.
- It will also password-protect purchases and videos and block social sharing.
- You can also toggle on Set Restricted Access and select hours when the tablet should not be used without your password.
How to block in-app purchases on Kindle Fire:
- Swipe down on the home screen and click the settings gear
- Under Device click Apps & Games
- Click Amazon Application Settings
- Click Appstore
- Click In-App Purchasing
- Make sure the box is unchecked, (as shown below)
How to block access to certain free, “forced” apps on the Kindle Fire:
Unfortunately, Amazon forces some apps on the Kindle, and they can’t be deleted. A good example of this is the FreeVee app. Here’s a message we received from a concerned mom:
“It’s a streaming app that is “suggesting” content to my daughter like 50 Shades of Grey and other very sexual movies to watch right on from the home page ????.”
- The app has no option to “delete or uninstall.”
- It has no age restrictions.
The solution? Download the free App Lock app here. The same mom who emailed us above reported back that it worked well. ”
“It seems to work well enough. The glitch that people are talking about might allow the opening home page of FreeVee to show for a split second but the prompt to enter a password comes up and you can’t click to play any movies then.”
Consider using Amazon’s new Amazon Kids+ (paid) parental controls
If you want even more control over screen time, filters, and access to a library of kid-friendly content, then consider Amazon’s Kids+ (formerly Free Time). For $2.99/month, it’s pretty good.
A Kindle Fire warning for parents with sneaky kids:
A distraught mother told us about the following porn pathway that he son found on a Kindle Fire.
The Alexa App is all but impossible to remove from the Kindle Fire. It might be disabled via parental controls, but you can still browse the Alexa app for other Alexa “skills” and “games.”
Through those other “skills” and “games” within the Alexa app, there are terms & conditions that can lead to hidden Google searches, Twitter, and more.
You can’t remove the App. But, you can block porn by changing the DNS of the device to something like CleanBrowsing and/or make sure the device is connected to a WiFi signal that has porn blocked.
- How to use CleanBrowsing DNS to block all porn on a Kindle Fire.
- How to use CleanBrowsing DNS to block all porn on your Wireless signal in your home.
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