Amazon introduced another layer of parental controls for its Kindle Fire tablet today, better enabling parents to limit how much time a child spends on certain activities.
Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos announced the parental controls at a media event in Los Angeles today, where he also announced an HD version of the Kindle Fire as well as the “Paperwhite” back-lit Kindle e-reader.
It’s called “Kindle FreeTime,” and while the options are still pretty slim, it’s a start. Parents can control the amount of time a child spends on the device as well as set up profiles for each child. Sliding bars on FreeTime’s control panel equate to reading books, watching videos, and using apps. Parents swipe their fingers across the scroll bar to increase or decrease time allotted for that activity. Once parents save the settings, they time restrictions apply to that child’s profile name. Once the total time is up, the Kindle Fire screen turns blue, alerting parents (and probably pissing off kids, but that’s not our problem).
Settings can be set per child profile, and should you children suddenly fuse and become one person, you can merge profiles.
After the release of the original Kindle, many parents and critics pointed out the lack of security controls, the capability for children to download anything they want and start reading and playing instantly. Indeed, VentureBeat executive editor Dylan Tweney even called the lack of real parental controls a “bone-headed move.” The company has slowly moved to add these features, however. You can see what Kindles offer by way of protection here.