Announced by Amazon earlier today, the development team behind the Kindle Fire tablets will be launching new features for Kindle FreeTime that will help parents encourage learning before entertainment. For example, after parents turn on the Learn First feature, all entertainment content within a child’s FreeTime library will be removed until a specific educational goal is met. When using this feature, children would have to earn access to entertainment applications by interacting with educational applications. For instance, parents could set a goal to read for an hour before entertaining videos can be unlocked.
Amazon has also added additional time restriction settings to make sure the child can’t access content in the middle of the night. The new Bedtime mode allows parents to make FreeTime inaccessible between a specific set of hours, 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. for instance.
Parents can also set time limits based off different days of the week, ideal when a child has more free time on the weekend compared to a school night.
While FreeTime is completely free for parents to use, Amazon also offers the Kindle FreeTime Unlimited subscription service that provides access to educational books, videos and apps. The cost of the subscription ranges from $2.99 up to $9.99 a month depending on the number of children using Kindle FreeTime Unlimited as well as membership in Amazon Prime. According to Amazon, hundreds of these educational tools are available now and many more will be added during 2014.
While a much larger collection of educational applications can be found for Apple’s iPad, the sheer amount of customization options for parents on the Kindle Fire tablets significantly trumps Apple’s software at the moment. Amazon plans to roll out these changes to Kindle FreeTime prior to the end of the month, ideal for any parent that receives a Kindle Fire tablet as a holiday gift this year.