Amazon is now accepting pre-orders for its Echo Dot Kids Edition
Now your kids will have a useful imaginary friend.
There’s a new Alexa in town and this time she’s aimed at kids. Following on from the success of the Kindle Fire Kids Edition, Amazon is rolling out a Kid-friendly version of the popular Echo Dot.
In the same design language as the tablet, the new Echo Dot has a protective “kid-proof” case that comes in red, green, or blue. The device will also come with an enhanced two-year guarantee, which means that if your child breaks it, you can send the device back to Amazon and they’ll replace it. It also comes with a free year of FreeTime Unlimited, Amazon’s parental control feature.
Pre-orders start today, and the device will start shipping May the 9th.
The big difference between the Kids Edition Echo Dot and previous devices is that it comes with FreeTime, a beefed up parental control feature from Amazon, which will also be available for full-size Echo devices and the Echo Plus.
FreeTime has a whole host of parent-set features so their kids can be safer online, such as time limits on how long kids can use the Echo, filtering of explicit song lyrics, and adding educational or kid-friendly content to the device.
One interesting feature is that Alexa‘s speech patterns change when FreeTime is enabled. The FreeTime version of Alexa speaks in a more kid-friendly way, giving longer, more detailed answers to questions like, ‘Why is a banana yellow?’ and using a less mature vocabulary. It also makes Alexa more inclusive, she can now listen for speech impediments and will wake to ‘Owexa’ for kids who have trouble saying the letter “L” in her name.
One other nifty feature that I think parents will love, Alexa will now listen for the word ‘please’, and praise kids for asking questions nicely. For example, if a kid asks ‘Alexa, can you please tell me what’s four plus three’, Alexa will respond with, ‘Four plus three equals seven. By the way, thanks for asking so nicely.’
Since all Alexa devices in the house run on the same network, you can also use it as an intercom to call your kids down for dinner.
There’s a free version of FreeTime for Alexa, or families can buy an unlimited plan starting at $3 per month for Prime members which includes extra services like Audible. Anyone who buys the Echo Dot Kids Edition will get a free year of FreeTime Unlimited.