Raising curious kids isn’t easy, but the newest Echo Dot Kids Edition device lends you a hand.
Children will often throw you questions you won’t be able to answer without looking them up on your smartphone. As much as you want to keep feeding their inquisitive minds, you might not have all the answers or the time to do so. Thankfully, Amazon’s smart speaker can be your little tyke’s learning companion. The only problem is that Alexa doesn’t always provide age-appropriate replies.
With Echo Dot Kids Edition, Amazon addresses and resolves this concern. Let’s take a closer look at the latest Echo device.
Difference From the Regular Echo Dot
Compared to the regular Echo Dot, the Kids Edition comes with a protective case (available in red, blue, and green) to protect it from spills — the ever impending consequence of being a little human still fine tuning the art of motor skills. It comes with a two-year warranty, too. More importantly, it gets you a free one-year subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited.
The service gives you and your child access to more than 300 child-friendly audiobooks, a variety of educational content, Alexa skills for kids, and ad-free radio stations. It includes Magic Word, too, a feature that encourages kids to say “please” (when talking to Alexa), answers educational questions, and gives age-appropriate responses to a variety of questions/statements. It even includes a number of parental controls that set time limits for when kids use Alexa, blocks explicit songs from Amazon Music (and soon, other music services), and reviews your kid’s activity.
Alexa typically gives moms and dads a ton of info on how their child interacts with his or her Echo Dot. With the kid-friendly version, the parental control on the device is further expanded. Using the parent dashboard, they can now read transcripts of everything their little angel has ever said to his/her Echo Dot Kids Edition (parents.amazon.com). They can even play back every reply from the digital assistant as well as all the audiobooks and music played through the device. If you feel like Amazon may have too much information about your kid, you have the option to delete the whole Alexa history.
FreeTime Unlimited provides a more robust parental control to the hardware, though. The family plan lets parents set up individual accounts for all their kids and they can set time limits for each account. That way, Alexa won’t be the reason your kids stay up way past their bedtime. Mommies and daddies can even lock their kids out of their respective devices in case the children have to be grounded for troublemaking. Beyond the parental controls, the service gives you access to videos, games, and e-books for Android devices and Fire tablets; and the parental control feature can be made to work on such devices as well.
Intercom and Alarm Clock Rolled Into One
Enable the Drop-In feature on the child-friendly Echo Dot and the speaker turns into an instant intercom. Simply tell your Amazon Echo to “drop in” on your son to connect to the Echo Dot in his room. It’s definitely better than yelling across the house to get his attention. For now, only Alexa devices found in the same home can drop in on the Echo Dot Kids Edition assigned to your kid.
Besides being an intercom, the smart speaker can be an alarm clock. Your kids can even set a recurring alarm by voice command or with the Alexa app. They can customize the alarm to be the voice of characters they love, like their friend who lives in a pineapple under the sea, Spongebob Squarepants! It can also be set to play any songs they like.
If you own an Echo Dot, you’ve probably noticed that its audio is pretty underwhelming. The Echo Dot Kids Edition is not much of an upgrade in that department either. It is plenty loud enough for podcasts, audiobooks, and music, though. When your little one prefers a fuller listening experience, pair it with a superior speaker via Bluetooth or the audio jack.
So, is the child-friendly Echo Dot worth its $79 price tag? For the amount of learning and interaction your young ones get from the smart speaker, it just might be. It’s a smart way to get them far less glued to the tablet while encouraging them to listen to stories and music more throughout the day. In the end, the device may be the next step in your journey towards being a super parent!