In today’s age, one of our added parenting duties is managing our kids use of technology. I have become more computer savvy than I wanted to just so that I could keep up with my 11-year-old and 5-year-old. In a perfect world, I would control everything that they are doing on their tablets and iPads or not let them use it all. Controlling their use 100% for me is somewhat impractical. I’ll get distracted by dinner, or my other kid screaming, or my husband wanting to chat about something. Before I know it, what was suppose to be 30 minutes of screen time turned into an hour. And because I see a lot of educational value in these devices, not letting them use it all is not an option for our family. But all is not lost. To manage it, I have learned to use the various parental control tools on their devices. One of my favorite tools is Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited.
Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited is available on Amazon’s Kindle Fire products if you subscribe. (And if you are undecided between the Kindle Fire and other tablets, this is a feature you may want to consider before making a decision). It is a few bucks a month (the individual plan is less than what you would pay for most drinks at Starbucks), but in my opinion, totally worth it. The best aspect of FreeTime Unlimited goes beyond the countless amount of pre-filtered content based on gender and age available for your kids to read (or play) every month. Some of the content has an audio option that allows kids to listen while they read along. This is great for non-readers or those that are just starting to read like my five-year-old. But as I mentioned, what I like the most isn’t even content based. I love the parental controls that allow me to limit their Kindle time and content without having to be over their shoulders all the time. It takes a little bit of time to set up, but once you do, it works great.
Parental controls on FreeTime Unlimited allows you to set up profiles by age range. That means that my five-year-old isn’t going to be getting material meant for my 11-year-old and vice verse. All reading content, apps, and videos are age-appropriate. If you are picky like me, you can easily delete any specific content you don’t want your kids reading through the parental controls. I am not a big fan of witches nor halloween type material so those items get quickly taken out before I hand my kids their Kindle.
The other great feature, is that you can set time limits for apps and block all entertainment content until they meet their educational requirements. You set the amount of time they can use the Kindle Fire for each of the activities: reading, watching videos, using their parent approved website, or playing apps. For example, after their 30 minute time limit is up for apps, the Kindle automatically turns off their ability to access any apps. If you are worried that they will pull out the Kindle when they should be asleep, no worries. You set up bed times and wake times for it as well. There are also set up different limits and times for weekdays and weekends. My kids’ Kindle Fire is set up so they have a little more time on the apps on weekends and they can stay up a little bit later.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I do earn a small commission if you sign up for Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited through any links on this blog. However, if you know me well enough, you know I wouldn’t promote something I didn’t believe was useful nor fruitful. If you are thinking of getting your kids a Kindle Fire, I highly suggest you sign-up for the free trial of FreeTime Unlmited and check it out yourself. And please, if you have any other questions about this product, don’t hesitate to ask it in the comments. I will do my best to answer them. I really do love what Amazon has done with FreeTime Unlimited. If anyone knows of a similar service for Apple devices, please share!
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