Learn how to set up your new Echo with parental controls
This post will guide you through how to set up your new Echo with the appropriate parental controls in place to prevent purchases, music with bad language, and more!
Even if you don’t have a Kids’ Edition Echo, you can still set up your regular Echo to be safe for your kids to use 🙂
You can add parental controls with FreeTime at no additional cost
There are 2 similarly named services from Amazon related to children.
The first is a paid service called “AmazonKids+” (also called “FreeTime Unlimited” in the Alexa app). It’s got fantastic premium content for kids and costs $2.99 per month.
The service that you need for parental controls is called “FreeTime” or “Amazon Kids” depending on where you’re looking (yes, this is a little confusing, but the two are used interchangeably from what I can tell!). Unlike AmazonKids+, it’s free!
Once enabled on your Echo, “FreeTime” / “AmazonKids” does things like turn on the explicit music filter and have Alexa tell kid friendly jokes when asked. And most importantly, it lets parents (and grandparents!) set parental controls without paying any monthly fee.
To name a few of the available parental controls…
- Set daily time limits for when your child can access Alexa
- Decide which digital content you’d like your child to be able to access (e.g., you can toggle on or off access to Netflix, Spotify, Facebook, etc.). Note that everything is off by default
- Determine smart home access (if you don’t want your child to be able to control all the lights!)
- Manage music and turn on the explicit filter
How to set up FreeTime’s parental controls on your Echo
Just follow these steps!
#1. Open the Alexa app
#2. Select “Devices” on the bottom navigation bar
#3. Tap “Echo and Alexa” at the top
#4. Tap the Echo device the child will be using
#5. Scroll down and tap “FreeTime”
#6. Toggle the slider on to “Enabled”
#7. A new window will open up that will walk you through the setup process to create a profile for your child and give additional consent.
#8. Follow the prompts to enter the child’s first name, gender, and birthdate; add additional child profiles as needed; give permission for Amazon to collect some information; and ultimately provide parental consent
#9. You’ll land on a page describing a few Alexa features that have been enabled in a kid-friendly way. Tap Continue
#10. You will be shown all the fun things you and your little ones can do with Amazon Kids (AKA FreeTime) — scroll through to check it out
#11. To access the Parent Dashboard’s privacy controls, tap the bold “Amazon Kids Settings” text at the bottom of the page
#12. Here, you’ll be able to set daily time limits, set access to smart home devices, manage the explicit filter and more!
#13. When you’re done, tap the “X” in the top right corner
Pro Tip: You will need to go through the above steps for each Echo device that your child will be using.
Want to go back and modify parental controls later?
You can easily modify parental controls at any time in the Alexa app! Just follow these easy steps:
#1. Open the Alexa app
#2. Tap “Devices” and then tap the device where you have enabled FreeTime
#3. Scroll down and tap “FreeTime” (under the “General” section)
#4. Tap the black “FreeTime Settings” bold text under “Settings”
#5. You’ll land on tab with a a “Parent Dashboard” section listening the name of each child you set up FreeTime for.
#6. Tap the name of each child to review parental controls and update anything you’d like!
Pro Tip: You can also modify parental controls by visiting Amazon’s Parent Dashboard if you prefer!
What about AmazonKids+?
If you want more kid-focused features and content, you can upgrade to Amazon Kids+ (formerly known as FreeTime Unlimited).
You can get the first month for free, and then you’ll pay $2.99 per month if you have Amazon Prime (or $4.99 per month if you don’t have Prime).
This subscription service lets you access thousands of pre-vetted books, movies, TV shows and games. It also has kid-focused radio stations, Amazon Storytime, and learning-focused games like Math Facts and Speak Spell.