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Keeping the kids happy: Amazon announces Kindle Fire subscription service for children’s content

While parents already have a decent amount of control over what their little ones use their Kindle Fire for with the help of FreeTime, a new subscription service set to be rolled out as part of a software update in the coming weeks is about to make the feature a much more attractive proposition – or so Amazon hopes.

FreeTime Unlimited, announced Wednesday by the e-commerce giant, will bring together all the child-friendly content available for the Kindle Fire tablets – encompassing books, games, educational apps, movies and TV shows – into the walled garden of the existing FreeTime feature, offering unlimited access for $4.99 per child or $9.99 per family. Prime members can sign up for slightly less: $2.99 and $6.99 respectively.

FreeTime allows parents to set up a Kindle Fire profile for their kids according to their age and gender, and to create time limits so their eyes don’t turn rectangular through overuse.

Parents select what they feel to be appropriate content for their child, which then appears in FreeTime for them to enjoy. However, this hasn’t stopped little Tom, Dick and Henrietta from finding new content in the Amazon store and pestering their parents to buy or rent it. With FreeTime Unlimited, however, there’ll be so much content – from providers including Chronicle Books, DC Comics, Disney, HIT Entertainment, Nickelodeon, PBS, and Sesame Workshop – kids won’t know what to do with it all. And there are no worries for parents about their offspring emptying their bank accounts with a ton of unapproved purchases or in-app payments as these are blocked within FreeTime.

Though cynics might suggest Amazon’s aim is to get the littl’uns familiar with its products and trained up on its platform at an early age in the hope that they might become Amazon devotees later on, the company will claim it’s simply looking for ways to give parents greater control over what content their children access, freeing them from having to constantly supervise their children’s tablet use.

If you’re a FreeTime advocate, can you see yourself signing up for FreeTime Unlimited?