By Don Reisinger
April 25, 2018

Amazon is expanding its home product line with a new device aimed squarely at children.

Dubbed Echo Dot Kids Edition, the new Amazon device is based on Alexa and allows children to hear jokes, listen to stories, and play music, among other features. And like the standard Amazon Echo Dot, it’s controlled solely by the user’s voice, so kids can ask to listen to their favorite stories with a voice command. The device’s onboard virtual personal assistant Alexa will respond accordingly.

And in a bid to make parents feel a bit better about their kids interacting with a smart home device, the Echo Dot Kids Edition has parental controls to limit when and how kids interact with the product.

Those parental controls are made available via Amazon FreeTime, a service that can set bedtime limits and block explicit songs from playing on the Echo Dot Kids Edition. The feature will also ensure Alexa “speaks kid,” as Amazon puts it, and asks age-appropriate questions. Amazon FreeTime Unlimited for Alexa, which will cost Amazon Prime customers $2.99 per month, adds “premium skills” and support for 300 audiobooks, like Peter Pan and Rip Van Winkle. The premium skills include access to Disney’s Disney Stories and National Geographic’s This or That.

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Amazon has quickly become a force in the smart home market with help from its Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show, among other devices. But those products are designed first for adults and provide access to anything from music to smart home controls. The Echo Dot Kids Edition is designed for children and doesn’t have all of the adult-focused controls that customers might want to find in other Echo products.

That said, those who already own an Echo Dot and want to put it in their kids’ bedrooms with all the same parental controls can do it without ever buying a Kids Edition. The aforementioned FreeTime and FreeTime Unlimited can be integrated with Amazon’s other devices, providing all of the same controls that come with the Echo Dot Kids Edition in the product of your choice.

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition will be available starting on May 9. Those who are interested in buying it can pre-order it now. It comes in blue, green, and red versions and costs $79.99.

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