A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
Parents and caregivers: Set limits for violence and more with Plus
What parents need to know
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What's it about?
Parents sign in to AMAZON KIDS+ using their Amazon account and then choose a subscription option. Create profiles for up to four kids using their name and date of birth. Once that is set up, parents can customize settings for each kid's profile. Though the app will automatically set the content based on the age provided, parents can adjust the settings up or down based on their kids' needs and their family's values. To shut down device use, parents can set a range of time (called bedtime) when kids aren't able to use the device and can set time goals for the use of educational content, though there's no way to specify exactly what the educational content is. They can even check a box that won't allow kids to use any content until they've met the educational goals. Also, parents can limit screen time as a whole or limit the amount of time spent reading, watching videos, using apps, or browsing the web. To get even more specific, these can be broken down between weekday limits and weekend limits. If they want to check on what their kids are seeing, they can view some basic usage statistics.
In terms of the kids' experience, they can browse available content by categories such as Discover, School & Learning, or Characters & Themes -- or search for something specific. If there's a time limit set, thy can tap on the timer to see how many minutes they have left.
Is it any good?
This large library of kids' books and videos has a detailed set of parental controls that are finely tuned around screen-time limits and device access, but content moderation is largely out of parents' control. All of the content in Amazon Kids+ is judged (by Amazon) to be kid-appropriate. And for that, it may be exactly what parents -- especially of young kids -- want: It locks down the device, creates a safe free-exploration zone for kids, and lets parents put hard limits on screen time. Even better, with multiple kid profiles, parents can provide age-appropriate media for their 6-year-old while also catering to their 3-year-old, all on the same device. Parents may want to use the time limit settings to help guide kids to regulate themselves as they grow. Parents can add particular books or videos, but they can't choose to exclude content. This may frustrate some families, as they may not agree with Amazon's choices of what's age-appropriate or right for their kids. For example, the content is full of branded product franchises (e.g., Barbie, Lego) and viral YouTubers, which some parents may want to avoid. Once all the settings are in place, the kids' area is crowded but easy navigate. However, it's unclear what makes Amazon mark something as educational; the ability to specify what you consider educational content would be nice. But overall, there's a lot here, and with a huge variety of books and videos, it's just the sort of thing that could help make parents' lives easier.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Amazon Kids+ can help them use screen time wisely. Help kids think about the time they have and what they would enjoy doing most. They can even make their own screen-time budget to ensure they have time for all the things they want to enjoy.
Talk about what content kids love the most. What is their favorite thing to do, watch, or read in the app? Why?
Discuss how to use the parent controls less and less over time so that kids learn how to regulate themselves.
Talk about the brand-name franchises kids run across in the books and videos. Is a video more appealing if it features Lego characters? Why, or why not? Does watching it make you want to buy more Lego sets? Why do you think that is?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
- Subjects: Language & Reading: reading, storytelling, vocabulary
Science: animals, ecosystems and the environment, weather
Social Studies: cultural understanding, history
Arts: dance, music
- Price: Free to try
- Pricing structure: Free to try (Free to download. $6.99/month or $2.99/month for Prime subscribers. One month free trial available.)
- Release date: September 18, 2020
- Category: Entertainment
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Book Characters, Music and Sing-Along, Science and Nature, Wild Animals
- Size: 43.60 MB
- Publisher: Amazon Mobile LLC
- Version: 1.8.3
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 11.0 or later; Android 5.0 and up
- Last updated: October 6, 2020
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