Amazon Fire for Kids gets new parent-child features

Have you seen Amazon’s Fire for Kids service? It’s the company’s subscription service for its tablets and Kindle e-readers, where parents pay a monthly subscription to give their child access to thousands of apps, e-books, videos and games.

Now it’s getting a pair of interesting new features that aim to keep you connected to what your children are playing, reading and learning through the service: Discussion Cards and a Parent Dashboard.

The dashboard will show you what your children have been doing every day on their device, from apps and e-books to websites, breaking down how much time they’ve spent on each. The idea is that the information will help you decide how (or whether) to moderate their screen-time.

Actually though, I’m much more interested in the other new feature, Discussion Cards. They’re basically prompts to spark discussion about the things your children have been enjoying on their devices, in much the same way you might talk about a book they’ve been reading at school.

“For example, when clicking on Billionaire Boy,’ parents will see questions like, ‘why do you think it is so difficult for Joe to make friends?’ or ‘why do you think people say that the ‘best things in life are free’?’” explained Amazon today.

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The Discussion Cards will also suggest things you can do in the real world that riff off the happenings of the book, app or video, to ensure the fun continues when the device is switched off.

Amazon has already created thousands of cards for the most popular stuff within Fire for Kids, with the promise that more will be added every day. It also says that more than 10 million children are already using the service, so these new features could have a big impact around the world.

This sort of feature isn’t (yet) available on tablets like Apple’s iPad, so Amazon is stealing a march here. Fire for Kids was already appealing too, with its model of a single monthly price for unlimited access to a catalogue of content, with no in-app purchases or ads allowed.

It costs £3.99 a month for one child, or £7.99 a month for up to four. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, though, the price is £1.99 and £4.99 respectively. It’s also bundling a year’s subscription into the cost of its £99.99 Fire Kids Edition tablet.

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