Handing your child a teddy bear with an embedded camera is a bad idea. But a kid-friendly tablet, with carefully curated content under direct parental supervision, is another thing altogether. Our recommended tablet for kids is the Amazon Fire HD 8 for Kids, which we reviewed earlier this year. Its parental controls and rugged design make it ideal for your tot, but there are five things you should look for when you set up your Amazon Fire for Kids device for the first time.
1. Set educational goals.
If time limits and curfews don’t seem like strong enough restrictions, Amazon FreeTime also differentiates between educational and entertainment content (books yes, web browsing no; apps and videos on a case-by-case basis). Selecting Learn First in the child’s profile blocks access to entertainment content until they’ve read a book or played a game about the alphabet for 20 or 30 minutes.
2. Hide profiles on lock screen.
Do you have multiple kids sharing one tablet? Are those younger kids itching to access content meant for older kids, like Percy Jackson books? Select an older child’s profile and hide it on the lock screen before you hand the Fire to the four-year-old.
3. Customize content.
Amazon’s smart filters select age-appropriate materials, but maybe you will literally collapse on the floor and expire if your 10-year-old watches any more Amazing Race. You can add or remove specific books, apps and games from your parent profile, blocking them from your kid’s view. Additionally, if you don’t like the range of materials selected for a 10-year-old, you can use Amazon’s smart filters to dial back the age range–from 9-12 to 7-10, for example.
4. Delete all those accidental photos.
Kids love cameras, but nothing uses up more of the Fire’s limited memory storage than three thousand blurry photos of their own armpits. Download ES File Explorer in Amazon’s app store to select images and send them to the recycle bin. Then go back to Settings to disable the camera on your child’s profile, except on special occasions.
5. Download and install apps beforehand.
Do you want to preserve your kid’s excitement and joy for as long as possible? Download and install some apps before you hand the tablet to them. Nothing makes a small child’s focus drain away faster than watching that little bar creep across the screen.
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