Amazon debuted FreeTime back in 2012 as a way for kids to enjoy and experience tech and for parents to easily monitor their kids’ usage. Yet, the name (at least to me) sounds more like a service to help people spend less time on their electronic devices. To fix this, Amazon is renaming FreeTime to “Amazon Kids” and FreeTime Unlimited to “Amazon Kids Plus.”
Alongside the updated naming scheme, Amazon is also giving the service a new look. In the next few weeks, Amazon will roll out a new Amazon Kids home screen, recommended for kids ages eight and up, to experience what a “grown-up tablet” feels like by changing the layout to look more like a traditional tablet. The service previously had a simplified interface where kids could swipe between one app at a time. Parents can use the Amazon Parent dashboard to modify age filters to designate what type of content appears on their kids’ home screen. The new home screen also includes quick access to kid-friendly music stations from iHeartRadio.
Amazon also announced today that kids will soon be able to use Fire tablets to broadcast announcements across any Alexa device in their homes. Their parents will have to approve each announcement, so kids can’t perpetually ask their parents to come to their room with snacks.
Amazon Kids is free, but Kids Plus requires a $5 monthly subscription, or $3 a month if you already pay for Amazon Prime. The paid service provides exclusive access to more audiobooks, books, shows, movies, games, and media in Spanish.