The language assistant Alexa is “child-friendly” – with special security, adapted media library and extra Echo Dot with a friendly design.
Amazon’s language assistant Alexa can run in a child-friendly mode from October. The company announced this feature called “Amazon Kids for Alexa” on Wednesday evening for the German market. Such a mode already exists in Germany for Fire Kids tablets and Fire TV streaming players.
In line with the announcement, Amazon is releasing its smart speaker Echo Dot (5th generation) with integrated Alexa in a kids’ edition with an owl and dragon design and pre-installed child safety locks. However, Kids mode can be activated on all smart speakers and smart displays (like the Echo Show series).
A mixed mode for children and adults on one device is also possible, with Alexa recognizing the person by their voice or – with the Echo Show 8 (Gen. 2), Echo Show 10 and Echo Show 15 – also by their face. According to Amazon, Alexa also distinguishes between different children, so that separate profiles can be created for the five-year-old son and the ten-year-old daughter in a household, for example.
Alexa gives appropriate answers
Alexa already offers children’s skills from brands such as “Pixi”, “Pumuckl”, “Die Maus” or “Die drei ???” but is said to have a more kid-friendly personality with the “Alexa for Kids” mode enabled. The language assistant gives children child-friendly answers to questions – for example, by not (only) describing water as a chemical compound made up of the elements oxygen and hydrogen, but also by explaining that it fills rivers and oceans and is used to cook spaghetti.
Parents can also determine which services can be used at what times and for how long. Since Alexa uses the filters of the relevant services (such as Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple Music) for this, it can vary depending on the service which titles are blocked.
Children can also be enabled to initiate voice and video calls via the Alexa devices. Even then, they are only able to call contacts approved by their parents. Voice purchases are always disabled. In addition, parents can call up an activity report via a special dashboard.
Finally, Amazon will also be offering its child-friendly media library “Kids+”, which is already available for kids’ tablets, for Alexa. According to the company, this media library has been expanded to include content created specifically for Alexa. Hundreds of audio books and radio plays and premium Alexa skills for children such as “Arithmetic with Conni” and “What’s what quiz” have been added. Children can also be woken up by figures such as “Grüffelo” or “The Little Dragon Coconut”. The subscription costs from EUR 4.99 per month and continues to be valid across devices – which means that existing customers who have subscribed to Kids+ for the tablet can use Kids+ for Alexa at no additional cost.
One year of Amazon Kids+ is included in the purchase price of the Echo Dot in the Kids Edition of around 70 euros. Also included is a 2-year so-called “no worries guarantee”. From purchase, devices will be exchanged in the event of a defect during this period.