Kids love to play with Alexa, and for the most part Alexa is child friendly out of the box. In the US, Amazon sells an
Echo Dot Kids Edition which comes with a year’s subscription to FreeTime. FreeTime is essentially a set of parental controls as well the audio content you get with the service.
In the UK there is no Kids Edition of any Echo, which means that the UK equivalent of FreeTime – called Fire for Kids Unlimited – is not available outside of Amazon’s Fire tablets. But the
Echo Dot is an inexpensive smart speaker that can be a great gift for a child to use in their room, particularly because it has no screen!
With the Echo Dot Kids Edition in the US, Alexa has been tweaked to use simpler language and FreeTime ensures that everything that comes out of her mouth is child friendly. But if you’re in the UK or another country, what can you do to make an Echo more child friendly?
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Enable Kid Skills for Alexa
In the UK, Kid Skills are available on all Echo devices. These are add-on capabilities created by third-parties. By default, though, Kids Skills are disabled so you’ll have to enable them before installing a Kid Skill.
You can either wait for a prompt when you try to enable a Kid Skill or go to Settings from the main menu in the Alexa app, then choose Alexa Account > Kid Skills and toggle the slider from off to on.
Alexa Explicit filter
Another parental control available to you is the Explicit Filter for music. This is under Settings > Music > Explicit Filter.
If you enable it, bear in mind this will prevent you using TuneIn as there’s no way to filter out explicit lyrics from radio stations.
Alexa PIN for purchases
Alexa can buy things for you from Amazon, and you probably don’t want your kids finding out this fact. But to prevent them from ordering a Paddington 2 DVD and a giant Toblerone, you can set a PIN that will be requested whenever anyone attempts to order physical or digital products via Alexa.
To do this, from the main menu in the Alexa app tap Settings > Alexa Account > Voice Purchasing.
Here you can disable Purchase by Voice entirely, or you can leave it enabled and set up a Voice Code, which is a four-digit PIN code.
As more parental controls become available for the Echo, we’ll update this article.
Check out the
73 funny things you can say to Alexa.
You can also learn
how to set up parental controls on a Fire tablet.