First announced in April of last year, the Echo Dot Kids Edition is exactly what it sounds like: Amazon’s Echo reimagined for an entirely kid-friendly smart speaker interface. While the kid-friendly speaker has received mostly positive reviews, what really sets it apart from its predecessor, the Echo Dot?
Here are three of the Echo Dot Kids Edition’s standout features:
1. Parental Controls
While the standard Amazon Echo has the option of adding parental controls, the Echo Dot Kids Edition makes it even easier to keep your kids safe while they interact with Alexa.
The Echo Dot Kids Edition is also optimized to detect higher-pitched voices and common mispronunciations, making it easier than ever for Alexa to interact with kids without adult aid.
Purchase of this kid-friendly device automatically activates a one-year subscription of FreeTime Unlimited, a multi-platform content and parental control service by Amazon. After one year, parents will have to pay for the service, which starts at $3/month for Prime members.
With this subscription, parents will have access to a Parent Dashboard, which allows parents to control and monitor their child’s smart home experience in a number of ways, including:
- Monitoring a child’s interactions with Alexa.
- Blocking age-inappropriate content and voice shopping.
- Setting time limits for how long a child can use certain smart home devices.
- Blocking device usage at bedtime hours.
2. Kid-Friendly Content & Skills
Included in your subscription to FreeTime Unlimited is access to over 13,000 pieces of kid-friendly content such as books, games, TV shows, movies, and educational apps. Designed for kids ages 3-12, this service is most worth it when used in conjunction with a kid-friendly Kindle or Fire Tablet, but families will still be able to enjoy pre-vetted audiobooks and music through their Echo Dot Kids Edition.
In addition to the kid-friendly content, a subscription to Freetime Unlimited unlocks dozens of kid-friendly skills.
We all know how destructive kids can be, and Amazon seems to know it too, which is why they have designed the Echo Dot Kids Edition to be totally kid-proof.
There are many skills already included with the standard Echo that have been designed with kids in mind, but a subscription to Freetime Unlimited unlocks a whole new world of kid-friendly skills. Turn on Magic Word to encourage your child to use manners when interacting with Alexa, ask Alexa to play one of 42 child-directed sleep sounds, or ask Alexa to play Disney Plot Twist, an interactive Disney version of Mad Libs. The Echo Dot Kids Edition is also optimized to detect higher-pitched voices and common mispronunciations, making it easier than ever for Alexa to interact with kids without adult aid.
3. Kid-Proof Design & Warranty
We all know how destructive kids can be, and Amazon seems to know it too, which is why they have designed the Echo Dot Kids Edition to be totally kid-proof. Compared to the standard Echo Dot warranty length of just 3 months, the Echo Dot Kids Edition comes with a 2-year warranty, which will replace a damaged Echo with no questions asked. If that’s not enough to ease your worries, you’ll be glad to know that this kid-friendly smart speaker comes with a protective cover to prevent damage from falls.
So, is the Echo Dot Kids Edition worth it? While the Kids Edition’s standard $69.99 price tag looks a bit hefty when compared to the standard Echo Dot’s cost of $49.99, the Kids Edition is frequently on sale for just $49.99 and comes with a range of kid-friendly features that will completely transform your child’s smart home experience. In the end, deciding if the value of the Kids Edition is worth it will depend on your budget, what features you’re looking for, and how your child plans to use Amazon Echo.
If you’re looking for more ways to use smart home technology with your kids, check out our article on the 5 Best Smart Home Gadgets for New Parents.