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Amazon announced yesterday that it is introducing a new Alexa-powered Echo Dot for Kids that not only comes in different colors, but also includes access to a number of child-friendly features including parental controls, filtering of explicit content, the ability to disable voice purchasing, and even offer positive reinforcement when people say “please” when making requests.

The retailer says that it also is offering FreeTime Unlimited on Alexa, described as “an all-new content subscription service just for Echo devices” that “includes access to over 300 Audible kids’ books; kid-friendly, ad-free radio stations and playlists; character alarms; premium Alexa skills from Disney, Nickelodeon, National Geographic, and more - starting at just $2.99 per month for Prime members, and no additional cost for existing FreeTime Unlimited members.”

Dave Limp, Senior Vice President, Amazon Devices and Services, says that “with Echo Dot Kids Edition and FreeTime on Alexa, parents can have peace of mind knowing their kids are getting age-appropriate content, while they listen to music, ask questions, enjoy Audible books, use Alexa skills, and more.”
KC's View:
I’ve been arguing here almost from the start of Echo’s availability that it ought to have a politeness protocol - I ought to be able to set mine so “please” and “thank you” are required to get a response. And not just for kids …adults also ought not get into the habit of being demanding and rude, even to a computer.

I’m sure there will be some blowback on this, and let’s be clear. While the Echo Dot for Kids has all sorts of child-friendly features, one of the advantages for Amazon will be that it will get young people even more acclimated to the use of such technology, which it believes will translate into sales in the long term. I’m not sure that it matters - kids understand this kind of technology organically, and will use it even if there is not a kids’ version. As a parent, I think it makes sense to have a version available to me over which I have greater control.