Amazon offers parents tools to monitor kids’ online activities

Amazon has announced its debut of its Parent Dashboard. This is a free website for parents that allow them to monitor their children’s online activity. This can be accessed using any web browser at

The website also provides parents with flashcards on various kids’ books and games that will give parents quick digestible information relating to the sites and information their kids are accessing at in Amazon FreeTime.

This content is known as “Discussion Cards.” Amazon content editors wrote summaries and discussion questions for the content available on FreeTime. It will be releasing very soon thousands of Discussion Cards for its most popular titles on FreeTime. Discussion Cards give parents prompts for talking with their children as to what they have been accessing online.

Kurt Beidler, Amazon’s kids and family director, said, “As kids learn and play more independently with their tablets, we want to provide parents with more ways to join that digital discovery.
Discussion cards equip parents with information about an Amazon FreeTime book, video, educational app, or game their child is enjoying and provide open-ended questions that parents can ask kids to spark conversations.”

For example, if parents click on a particular book or video, they will get a summary of the content and sample questions that they can ask their kids. It will also allow them to see at least 90 days’ worth of information on the specific videos or books read as well as the duration for each one.

The daily reports use colorful pie charts to illustrate the time spent in the different categories in FreeTime: books, apps, video, and games.

Over 10 million children use Amazon FreeTime, which is for children under 13. This paid app gives children access to more than 13,000 movies, TV shows, books, and Youtube videos are kid-friendly. FreeTime is only available as a mobile app on Amazon Kindles and Fire Tablets, and Fire TV media streaming stick. Apple nor Android devices will not have access to it.

Using the Parent Dashboard, a parent can now see how much time their child spent on watching videos, reading books, or the websites their child visited.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Heavy parent use of mobile devices…may be associated with more parent-child conflict.”

Beidler said, “I would love to see parents engaging more with their kids, using this information to further customize their child’s experience in FreeTime to make the product better for kids.”

Commenting on the discussion cards, Beidler said that the feature was meant for parents to avoid the dreaded one-word response. He said, “Ideally, parents will have read the book, but they may not have had time to go through it and develop in-depth questions like we have, or they may have read the book a long time ago.”

These tools could help parents become more involved with the digital lives of their children as well as give feedback to kids to do more reading instead of gaming.

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