Amazon FreeTime gets a Parent Dashboard, Discussion Cards& more

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Amazon FreeTime, the subscription service offering kid-friendly books, videos, apps and games, is today rolling out afeature called Discussion Cards that will help parents better understand the content their child is viewing, reading or playing. The feature will be a part of a new Parent Dashboard that will also include activity reports and other insights into how the child has been using their device.

With the Discussion Cards, the idea is to help parents have more productive dialogues about whatever it isthe child is engaging with at the time. The cards may also suggest ways to connect that digital behaviour to real life.

For example, if the child was reading a National Geographic title like Cats vs. Dogs, the Discussion Card might prompt mothers to ask questions like which pet do you like and why? or it maysuggest that the family could go volunteer at a shelter together.

The cards themselves are written by Amazons Content Editor and will encompass many of the videos, books, educational apps and games inside FreeTime, plus some of the more popular titles often added to FreeTime by parents.

At launch, Amazon says there are thousands of cards available, and more are added daily.

Parents will be able to access the cards in FreeTimes new Parent Dashboard, which is where they can also view adaily activity report for their childs device use. This will include what volumes were read, videos watched, apps or games played, and websites visited. It also shows how many minutes were spent on a given title and how that may have changed over the course of the week.

This information canhelp to inform mothers as to how to configure their childs FreeTime profile, where they can adjust screen day, time limits and daily education aims. But more generally, it allows mothers to track their childs changing interests over time with different types of content as well as withindividual titles.

Initially, it may seem a little odd( or even creepies) that parents need to rely on software to know what their child is interested in, but digital platforms have changed the visibility that parents are typically had into their kids lives. Instead of dog-eared volumes on nightstands orboard games and toys scattered around the room, kids often turn to e-books, apps and digital games instead. And with their nose buried in their tablet, parents arent always aware what kids are up to.

Of course, the idea to offer a parental dashboard like FreeTime is now doing is not something unique to Amazon many children app makers have included the technology into their own games and apps, and its a standard feature in third-party internet control software, too.

However, of the OS makers themselves Google, Apple and Amazon its interesting that its Amazon that has so far shownthe most thoughtful approach to managing children digital lives, ranging from its sturdy( and insured) tablet line for kids to its robust parental controls ,as well as thiskid-safe FreeTime content subscription.( Regrettably, iOS still has some of the bettergames and apps, which continues to be induces for a difficult selection; and mamas or papas with iPhones often want to buyinto the whole Apple ecosystem instead .)

Discussion Cards are included in Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which is $2.99/ month for Prime members per infant, or $4.99/ month for non-members; household plans for up to 4 children are also available, starting at $6.99/ month. Amazon tells the service now reaches over 10 million users.

The Parent Dashboard with Discussion Cards is available starting today.

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