Amazon helps parents monitor the digital content their kids consume

One more tool in the parental toolbox

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Amazon announced Discussion Cards this week, a new feature for its popular Amazon FreeTime service that will help parents and kids connect over the digital content the children are viewing. With Discussion Cards, parents can easily familiarize themselves with the FreeTime content their kids are viewing, such as books, videos, educational apps, and games, to encourage discussion and engagement with their kids.

Discussion Cards are found within the new Parent Dashboard, a mobile optimized website that also provides daily activity reports to help parents review the digital content their kids are using in FreeTime and determine how to manage time limits and educational goals. Parent Dashboard is available starting today at parents.amazon.com.

Discussion Cards allow parents to tap into a specific Amazon FreeTime book, video, educational app or game title to get more detail, including a summary and sample questions they can ask their child. For example, when clicking on “National Geographic Readers: Cats vs. Dogs,” parents will see questions like, “what’s the difference between a canine and a feline?” or “which pet would you like and why?” This helps parents quickly become familiar and engage with their kids around the content they are viewing.

Discussion Cards also provide ideas for real-world experiences for families—the National Geographic title suggests “volunteer at the local animal shelter to help homeless dogs and cats.” If a parent finds that their child has a real interest in what they read or viewed, they can suggest doing something together as a family to help deepen their experience and build on their interest.

“As kids learn and play more independently with their tablets, we want to provide parents with more ways to join in that digital discovery,” said Kurt Beidler, Director of Kids & Family, Amazon. “Discussion Cards equip parents with information about an Amazon FreeTime book, video, educational app, or game their child is enjoying, and provide open-ended questions that parents can ask kids to spark conversations—and avoid the dreaded one-word response. Discussion Cards also offer ideas for real-world activities families can do together, like participating in community service or working on an art project—all inspired by what kids are doing in FreeTime.”

Discussion Cards are written by Amazon Content Editors and are available for videos, books, educational apps, and games within Amazon FreeTime, as well as many titles that are added into FreeTime by parents. Discussion Cards are already available for thousands of the most popular titles, with more cards being added every day.

Parents can find Discussion Cards within the new Parent Dashboard, which provides access to a daily activity report of their child’s device usage while in their Amazon FreeTime profile. Reports include information like videos watched, books read, apps or games played, and websites visited, including how many minutes were spent on a particular title and how that usage may have changed over the week. This provides parents with more information to determine how to manage screen time, time limits, and daily education goals within the FreeTime child profile.

According to the company, over 10 million kids (and their parents) enjoy the award-winning Amazon FreeTime service, which provides the perfect balance between giving kids the freedom of choice and unlimited access to the content they love, while providing parents peace of mind that what their kids are viewing on their devices is age-appropriate. Parents have the ability to hand-select content, set educational goals and set screen time limits by content type, and the FreeTime web browser lets kids have access to over 40,000 age-appropriate YouTube videos and websites that have been hand-curated by the FreeTime team. Additionally, while in FreeTime, kids do not have access to social media and can’t make in-app purchases. FreeTime is available as a free app or as a paid subscription option, Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which offers unlimited access to popular content from Disney, Nickelodeon, PBS Kids, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and more.