Amazon's Echo speakers are getting a new update that parents of young kids will love. The AP reports that the free software, called FreeTime, encourages kids to be more polite and go to bed on time. Alexa, the speaker's voice assistant, will soon thank kids for asking questions "nicely" and for saying "please."
Parents can also program Alexa to go silent at bedtime and to block music with explicit lyrics; they can even use it to call their kids down to dinner. Amazon, which has long made kid-friendly equivalents of modern technology, has also announced the release of a new speaker aimed specifically at children called the Echo Dot. FreeTime rolls out May 9.
To break it down a bit more, the free version includes:
- A Parent Dashboard to monitor and limit what kids are doing on the device.
- Explicit lyrics filters for Amazon Music (with more music services coming, says Amazon).
- Time limit settings to restrict when Alexa can be used.
- Kid-specific questions and answers.
The premium version, with or without the device, also includes:
- A library of 300 Audible books.
- Kid-friendly radio stations and playlists.
- New “premium” skills (basically Alexa apps) from the likes of National Geographic and Nickelodeon.
- Custom alarms with character voices, like SpongeBob, or Joy from Disney's Inside Out.
There are more features included and on the way too. As Amazon is fond of saying, it is “day one” for Alexa for kids.