Amazon Wants More Kid-Friendly Alexa Apps

Amazon has unveiled the first child-focused apps for its connected home Echo devices along with a way for parents to give kids permission to use them.

The new apps, or skills in Amazon lingo, include Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob Challenge and Sesame Workshops’ Sesame Street.

Devices like Amazon (AMZN) Echo and rival Google Home have proven wildly popular. But they have also face criticism for how much information they gather on children.

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (or COPPA) makes it illegal for online service providers to gather data on children under 13 without parental consent. If connected devices “listen” to children’s commands and learn about their preferences, they could technically be violating that law, as The Guardian reported last year.

People in their 20s and 30s have proven willing to forego privacy in favor of convenience. The issue here is that kids under 13 aren’t seen as experienced enough to make that choice on their own.

Related: Disney Sued Over Gaming Apps

Echos are Internet connected speakers that respond to voice command using Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant to order takeout food, shop, check the weather, and tune into specific radio stations.

The new permission process will require parents to verify their identities before their children can access the apps.. Once the permission is set by the parents, they can review it and revoke it later as needed.

Amazon is hoping that the permission system will encourage more outside developers to build child-focused Echo apps, making the device more desirable.

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Echoes are a huge success for Amazon, which is now facing a challenge from Google Home along with planned products due from Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT) this fall.

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