With smart speakers taking pride of place around our homes, they are another window out in the big bad world in some ways, so it’s important our kids are able to be safe online and that includes smart speakers. Today, Amazon launched new parental control features to limit some of what you kids can do on your Amazon Echo devices.
Amazon’s approach here goes far beyond your smart speaker, working with the eSafety commissioner on new simple to use guides for parents to help talk with their kids about the rules of engagement online, behaviors online and so on. It’s a fantastic and very simple guide that every parent should use – regardless of their home tech eco-system.
Within the Alexa ecosystem the new Parental dashboard allows you to manage your kids accounts allowing you to restrict the times they use their echo speakers and what they do on them.
In my testing, it doesn’t allow from what I can see – for parents to convert household profiles to child accounts, instead I had to create an all new profile for my kids, which was a quick and easy process.
This profile can then mean your kids can be recognised by your echo devices, so when they ask for music, songs with explicit lyrics are blocked, and time limits can be enforced.
Assign an echo speaker to your child’s bedroom and you can set time limits on its usage.
Of course there are amazing things you can do with the time limits and screen time settings, but for most Aussie homes this will only apply to the Echo speakers as kids own devices like smartphones and tablets are unlikely to be controlled by Amazon’s parental controls.
Frankly, the best part of this whole launch is the parent’s guide I’ve linked above and the ability to block explicit songs and stop the kids using smart speakers after hours.
Additionally, Amazon Australia has worked with local content providers to launch new child friendly content like Kinderling Kids Radio, or ABC Kids Listen.
There’s also some fun activities kids can do like Blues Clues or Chompers which is meant to keep the kids brushing their teeth and having fun at the same time – might be time for an Echo in the bathroom.
“While Alexa’s been keeping Aussie homes organised, entertained and connected, the youngest members of the household have increasingly become curious and interested in engaging with Alexa in their own way,” said Kate Gooden, Head of Product, Amazon Alexa ANZ. “We’re excited to launch Amazon Kids on Alexa in Australia, joining the 20 million kids and parents around the world who are already using the service. We can now provide Mums and Dads peace of mind in knowing that their kids are getting child-directed content, and new kid skills in an environment that parents can easily manage via our Parent Dashboard tools.
If you’ve got an Amazon Echo Speaker, and setup the kids profiles, here’s a few fun things to try!
- “Alexa, what’s the alphabet”
- “Alexa, give me a fun fact”
- “Alexa, good morning”
- “Alexa, play Kinderling Kids Radio”
- “Alexa, play ABC Kids listen”
- “Alexa, open Bedtime Explorers”
- “Alexa, open Blue’s Clues”
- “Alexa, open Stolen Stars of Matariki”
- “Alexa, open Chompers”