The best smart speakers are a great way to listen to your favourite music and audio books for adults and children alike, but with no parental controls built-in, there’s a worry that kids could stumble on something inappropriate.
Amazon is hoping to make this a thing of the past however, by bringing its extremely cute Echo Dot Kids smart speaker to the UK. Available in a Tiger or Panda design, this child-friendly version of Amazon’s smallest smart speaker comes with a year’s subscription to Amazon Kids+, which offers unlimited access to a range of suitable audio books, radio stations and skills and games.
The new Echo Dot Kids price is £59.99 and it’s available to pre-order today, ahead of going on sale on July 21.
The Amazon Echo Dot Kids also comes with a range of parental controls and family-friendly features built-in. Known as Amazon Kids on Alexa, it ensures Alexa is ready with age appropriate responses to commands such as “Alexa, I’m Bored” or “Alexa, tell a knock knock joke”.
At the same time, parents can also set time limits so children can’t avoid bedtime by chatting with Alexa, and even block access to services and skills from the Amazon smart speaker they don’t think are suitable.
Parental controls for all
Amazon Kids on Alexa isn’t just for the Echo Dot Kids edition however – Amazon revealed it is making the service available as a free over-the-air software update on July 21 to existing Amazon Echo, Amazon Echo Dot, and Amazon Echo Plus speakers in the UK.
It’s not just about controlling what kids have access to either – Amazon said Alexa will be able to answer questions about science, maths, spelling, definitions, and other education-related topics – although hopefully, it won’t let them cheat when it comes to their homework. Amazon also revealed that in this mode Alexa will continue to learn over time when it comes to answering these questions.
Similarly, parents with an existing Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Plus, will also be able to subscribe to Amazon Kids+ on Alexa too, from July 21. It costs £3.99 per month, although this drops to £1.99 if you’re a Prime subscriber. It’s a variation of the subscription that ships with Amazon’s Fire Kids edition tablets.