See what the Echo Dot Kids Edition has to offer and why it's great for families.

If you’re a parent of a child under 12 and you have held off on purchasing a digital assistant, Amazon’s new product Echo Dot Kids Edition is worth considering. Full disclosure for those of you reading – I have an Amazon friendly household and you might even go so far as to classify us as Amazon addicts!

Everyone in our family received Echo Dots from Santa last year, so our house has an Echo downstairs and in each bedroom.

As a parent, I must admit that I am in love with the new Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition. It comes pre-loaded with tons of features families will love including:

  • 300 kid-friendly Audible audiobooks
  • Ad-free iHeartRadio Family stations and playlists
  • Explicit lyric filter for Amazon Music streaming
  • Child-friendly responses to questions
  • A kid-proofed physical product with a 2-year warranty

And I’m not alone. Stephen Balkam, the Founder and CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute, said, “We are excited to see Amazon bring FreeTime to Alexa. The curated content and user experience has all been designed with kids, parents, fun and safety in mind.”

Why is there a need for a kid-friendly Alexa version?

Amazon’s original Echo Dot was programmed for adults, so she was a bit on the sassy side – funny but sometimes too sassy. Alexa was also unable to determine if an adult or child had asked a question, so responses were created for an adult recipient using adult vocabulary.

Since many Alexa users stream music through their devices, it’s also important to note that there wasn’t a content filter available for younger listeners. And for those children who did not have a clear pronunciation of “Alexa,” it could be difficult for young users to wake up Alexa.

Try our Alexa skills: Screentime Advisor and Parenting Quotes.

What’s different about the Echo Dot Kids Edition?

The Echo Dot Kids Edition is specifically programmed for young users aged 5-12, so any questions posed will receive an age-appropriate response using simpler vocabulary and more condensed answers. In fact, Alexa’s Kids Edition uses artificial intelligence (AI) and is specifically trained to be more intuitive and receptive to kids’ questions and speech patterns.

For sensitive questions, Alexa will refer them to a parent or grownup. For example:

Child: “Why are kids mean to me?”
Alexa: “People bully, or are mean, for different reasons. Bullying feels bad and is never okay. If you or someone else is being bullied, please know that there are lots of folks who can help you. You should talk to your parents, a teacher, or another trusted grown-up about it.”

The new “Magic Word” feature offers positive reinforcement when kids use the word “please” by praising their manner by responding with “Thank you for asking so nicely”.

Echo Dot Kids Edition also includes FreeTime parental controls that allow parents to:

  • Set time limit on the Echo’s use
  • Select which services and Alexa skills children can access
  • Filter explicit lyrics for Amazon Music
  • Ability to turn off voice purchasing

Each Echo Dot Kids Edition comes loaded with a one-year subscription to Amazon’s FreeTime, which has lots of kid-friendly content available, including: 300 Audible audio books, iHeartRadio Family radio stations and playlist, Alexa skills from kid-friendly brands like Disney, National Geographic and Nickelodeon, and even wake-up alarms featuring popular Disney and Nickelodeon characters.

What does Echo Dot Kids Edition cost?

There are three options to consider, including upgrade options to any Echo Dots you may already own.

1. Purchase a NEW Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition for $79, which includes the following:

  • Protection case (3 colors choices: red, green, blue)
  • Two-year warranty
  • FreeTime unlimited subscription with:
    • 300 Audible audio books
    • iHeartRadio Family radio stations and playlist
    • New kid-friendly Alexa skills from brands like National Geographic and Nickelodeon
    • Character alarms from Disney and Nickelodeon
  • FreeTime parental controls including:
    • Parent dashboard to set time limits on Echo device
    • Kid-friendly Alexa responses
    • Turn off voice purchasing

2. Add the FreeTime parental controls plus FreeTime Unlimited Content subscription for an additional $3/month to an existing Amazon Prime account.

  • FreeTime unlimited subscription
  • FreeTime parental controls

3. Add the FreeTime parental controls subscription to any existing Echo device for free.

Digital assistants are not for everyone but if you are considering adding one to your home, Amazon’s Echo Dot Kids Edition with FreeTime allows all the fun Alexa offers, but gives parents the ability to put their own limits in place.

Read more: What You Need to Know About Digital Assistants.