Amazon is improving its parental control dashboard to allow parents to adjust FreeTime settings like screen time limits, bedtime curfews, whitelisted apps, and more from any web browser. Previously, those controls could only be changed from the actual kids’ edition Fire tablet. Now they can be accessed and updated from any smartphone or PC that a parent has access to. They can also enable or disable the web browser remotely.
The Parent Dashboard lets parents remotely keep an eye on the content — apps, games, videos, ebooks, etc. — their children are using on the company’s kid-oriented tablets. It provides daily, weekly, and monthly activity reports, which help parents feel reassured about what their kids are seeing and how they’re spending screen time without having to peer over their shoulder constantly.
Since last year, Amazon has also displayed “discussion cards” that are meant to help parents strike up a conversation about the content their kids are interested in. Hopefully, if you’re a parent, you already have some sense of what your kids are into and are capable of talking about those things without cheat cards, but it’s hard to keep up with this stuff sometimes, so it’s nice that the option is there if you need it.
The Parent Dashboard is available exclusively to parents who own a Fire 7 Kids Edition or Fire 8 Kids Edition that’s currently enrolled in the company’s FreeTime service, which provides access to 15,000 curated apps, games, videos, and educational content from the likes of PBS, Disney, and Nickelodeon. A year of FreeTime Unlimited is included with each tablet purchase; after that, it’s $2.99 per month. The ability to control settings remotely is something that parents must opt into. “All previous FreeTime settings will be reset, but parents will be able to readjust and manage their parental controls right away” after switching on the feature, Amazon says.