Amazon's new Echo rewards children for saying please and thank you


Amazon is going after the little-kids' market, and I think that's just fine. Amazon has also introduced two new digital voice options for children and parents. Amazon FreeTime itself is not new as it has been available via Amazon's Fire Kids Edition tablets but now parents will have the same level of parental controls with Alexa through the Echo line of devices like the Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus. The Unlimited service offers premium content from Disney, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street, PBS Kids and Cartoon Network. The device comes with a kid-friendly case and a two-year warranty. Parents can set time limits for use and pre-select which services kids can access. Amazon has also tweaked Alexa's voice recognition to understand mispronunciations. But it also comes with a camera which can be used to make video calls with other Alexa or Echo users. Getting through to them can be pretty frustrating; it's as if manners have gone out the window.

They suggest that the age range is 5-12, but as the mom of a 12 year old myself, I think that's pushing it. Consumers have been pushing for better parental controls across many platforms, like iOS and iPhone. The reason you'd want one is to save yourself some cash if you'd already planned on buying both an Echo Dot and a FreeTime Unlimited subscription for your child.

Amazon FreeTime and FreeTime Unlimited on Alexa will roll out to existing Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Plus owners via a free, over-the-air software update starting 9 May.

Amazon has made another device that is kid and family friendly.

FreeTime has a whole host of parent-set features so their kids can be safer online, such as time limits on how long kids can use the Echo, filtering of explicit song lyrics, and adding educational or kid-friendly content to the device. It also has an IR emitter which allows it to control your television and other A/V equipment. A skill is like an app, which can come from third parties.

Similar to the grownup version of the Amazon Echo Dot, Alexa will answer your questions, but the responses on the newer device are tailored to a younger audience.

Not to be outdone, the device will be encased in a super colorful case as well. With Echo Spot, Amazon Echo users can watch videos from services like Amazon Prime Video and even watch trailers of the newest movies running in theaters near you.

That's according to Bloomberg which says it has spoken to people familiar with the tech giant's plans.