Parents can use a "Learn First" setting to ensure kids hit educational apps before they can access games or movies. An "Educational Goals" feature enforces a set time, say 30 minutes a day, of reading or some other laudable activity before turning to the electronic junk food. And Bedtime, Weekday, and Weekend settings ensure that the midnight cartoons come to an end.
Amazon also announced it is adding thousands of educational books, apps, games, and videos to Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, their subscription service that offers a buffet of kiddie content which is age-graded, pre-sorted into "educational" or "entertainment," and free of in-app purchases or ads.
Kids are clocking just under two hours of screen time a day, and Amazon seems focused on capturing more of those minutes by channeling parental ambivalence about both the benefits and drawbacks of so much tech. As Fast Company reported earlier, the motivation for father-of-three Jeff Bezos is personal, as well as based on user feedback.
"FreeTime, the latest set of parental controls, was born out of an update meeting. Jeff [Bezos] started talking about how he hated playing traffic cop with his children, judging the amount of screen time they'd had. We got up on the whiteboards and started sketching.
By the next meeting, we had a working-backward version of FreeTime. Now, if I hand a Fire off to my kids, they can watch videos for 20 minutes a day, play apps for 10 minutes a day, and they can read for an unlimited time."