If you’ve ever thought it’s be great to have a kid-safe version of Alexa in your children’s bedroom, you’re in luck because that’s exactly what Amazon just made. The Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition is available for pre-order now and includes kid-friendly content, age appropriate responses, and parental controls.
The Echo Dot Kids Edition has a rugged outer case available in three colors,and a one-year subscription to FreeTime Unlimited with a collection of 300 kid-friendly audible books, kid-friendly music playlists and radio stations, alarm voices from their favorite cartoon characters, and add-on skills from Nickelodeon and National Geographic, and others.
For parents, there’s a special dashboard where they can monitor how their children use the Echo Dot Kids Edition, plus support for time restrictions. The latter should help to keep kids from staying up all night talking to their little puck-shaped friend. The kids Echo also include explicit lyrics filtering for Amazon Music, and questions and answers at a more child appropriate level.
If you already have an Echo device you want to put in your kid’s room Amazon offers FreeTime Unlimited for US$2.99 a month, and there’s a free version with parental controls but none of the content. The Echo Dot Kids Edition costs $79.99, so you’re paying for the Dot, the protective case, and a year of FreeTime Unlimited in one shot.
Amazon clearly wants to be ubiquitous in our lives and homes, and its Alexa voice assistant platform is a big part of that. The Echo product line makes it easy and inexpensive to put Alexa in every room—an Echo costs US$99 and an Echo Dot is only $49.
Other device makers are building Alexa into their products, too. Many speaker makers, for example, bundle Alexa support with their devices, and smart thermostats like the ecobee4 have Alexa built-in. You can also get Alexa devices for you car, and it’s easy to download the Alexa app to your smartphone.
We’re even looking at the possibility of an Alexa device that can follow you around your home. Amazon is working on a personal robot code-named Vesta that’ll no doubt include Alexa support. The robot is expected to ship in 2019 and will include cameras and sensors so it can interact with you and respond to your questions and commands.
All of that adds up to a surprisingly efficient way for Amazon to learn more about us that just what our purchase history shows.
Alexa is Your Kid’s Best Friend
If you have Echo devices in your home, your kids are likely already interacting with Alexa. Giving parents a way to manage how their kids use Alexa makes sense so it’s no surprise Amazon put together the FreeTime Unlimited package. Offering a free tier with parental controls was a smart move, too.
Offering a child-focused Echo device is a smart move, too, depending on your perspective. If a child grows up in a world where Alexa has always been part of their life, they’re far more likely to expect it to always be there to do their bidding and answer questions. By extension, that means Amazon will always be there, too.
Alexa will most likely get smarter over time, which means it should be able to adapt as kids grow and mature so it’s responses are still appropriate. Roll all that up into an Echo, and it’s almost like Amazon engineered the perfect friend for our kids. Assuming, of course, you’re comfortable letting this friend into your house and kid’s room.