Contrary to popular belief, kids read more than adults, in part because they’re expected to and in part because they have more time to sit down with a good book. That said, parents are reasonably concerned about how much time kids spend watching TV, playing games, and otherwise engaged with screens.
The Kindle Fire can be a useful device for kids, since it’s tied directly to your Amazon account, giving you more control over content. But to get the most out of it, and to keep kids away from shows and books they probably shouldn’t experience yet, you should both use the parental controls the device offers and implement your own.
The Kindle Fire’s Parental Controls
Amazon allows parents to configure parental controls from anywhere, including your personal phone. The Parent Dashboard lets you track what they’re watching, reading, and playing, and how much time they’re spending doing it. You also can set filters for content, whitelist apps to allow them to do things, set time limits and a bedtime for the device, and give your kids educational challenges.
Sound great? Unfortunately, there’s a catch: Amazon wants $3 a month (from Prime members) to $5 a month (non-members) for the service. There’s also a yearly price available. And it is worth remembering that this is Amazon’s program on Amazon’s device; if the company is faced with a situation where it needs to choose between parents’ interest and profit, they’re likely to put their own concerns first.
Besides, you need to have more than one tool to enforce the rules. This is why every Kindle Fire should have a third-party parental control app installed.
Kindle Fire And Third-Party Parental Control Apps
Installing third-party parental control apps can help you keep a handle on the Kindle. In addition to features like instant pause, third-party apps serve as a backup to parental controls. They’re also not beholden to content companies or the device manufacturer, so you have an impartial moderator for content.
In Amazon’s case, you also don’t have to subscribe to a separate service and then pay on top of that. Some parents may not be comfortable at being forced to pay a device manufacturer for the right to assert control over something they own. Considering the history of ad-blockers, where sites rapidly began paying to have their ads excepted from the program, third-party apps may be a simpler approach in the long term.
Parental control apps also give you the ability to ease kids into responsible screen use. It’s great that you can challenge your kids via their Kindle, but what really matters is that they understand why they’re learning and why it’s important to put their screen down.
And as kids grow, go to school, and develop more interest in different topics, you need to be able to change the rules to accommodate that growth. The more adaptable the app, and the more tools you have to work with your kids on these questions, the easier that process will be.
Parental control apps help parents and kids get a handle on the ever-more-complicated world of devices, apps, and the internet. To learn more, sign up today!