Kindle Fires are a popular tablet choice for kids. They’re portable, durable and give kids access to a host of entertainment and learning avenues without the heft of a laptop or PC—both in weight and price. Unfortunately, some of those avenues, filled with content that’s far from kid-friendly, aren’t those that parents want their children to travel down.
So, short of watching over their shoulders every minute they’re on a Kindle Fire, what's a concerned parent to do? Fortunately, there are parental control apps you can set on your child’s Kindle Fire to help. Here’s how.
It used to be that you had to get your hands on your kid’s Kindle Fire and adjust the settings directly on it. Now, however, it can be done remotely via your phone or computer with the Parent Dashboard.
The dashboard allows you to see what content they’re viewing with daily, weekly and monthly reports, and you can set limits on their screen time or disable their web browser entirely if you should so choose. You do have to have a subscription to Their FreeTime Unlimited Service, which provides access to games, apps, books and other content, but a year is included with the purchase of a Kindle Fire. Thereafter, FreeTime Unlimited is currently $2.99 per month and can be accessed through the FreeTime homepage under Parent Settings.
Create a parents-only password
When you first tap on Parental Controls under Settings on their tablet, you’ll be prompted to create a password. Make sure this is a password you don’t share with your children, and it’s not one that they’ll easily guess. They’ll have a different passcode to open the screen, but this one lets you control various settings to manage what type of content they’re accessing and for how long.
Turning on Parental Controls will automatically block several things, including the camera, email, Alexa and the Silk web browser. You can individually choose which, if any, you want to turn back on. You can also choose Set Restricted Access and choose hours during which the tablet can’t be used unless this password is entered and require that it be entered before any purchases are made on the Kindle.
Create an account for your child
You can set up multiple accounts on one Kindle Fire, but make sure you add your child as a child. To do so, go to Personal under the Settings menu, then Profiles & Family Library. Then select Add a Child Profile and enter the requested information. For privacy, you may want to consider using a nickname or a made-up name instead of their real name, and you shouldn’t add their photograph.
Set daily goals and limit
You can set a time limit for the whole device, but choosing a Turn Off By time or set a Total Screen Time Limit, but you can also decide to allow different amounts of time for different activities. For example, you may allow them unlimited reading time, but only 30 minutes of videos on weekdays.
You can also motivate your child to spend their time wisely on their tablet by setting Educational Goals they must meet before they’re allowed access to other videos or apps. To do so, click on Learn First and then the other apps remain locked until they meet the goals you’ve set for various educational sites, reading, etc.
When it comes to content, what’s good for your teen isn’t necessarily good for your toddler. On the Kindle Fire, you can set Smart Filters to set an age range for the content you want a specific user to have access to. Again, you must have the FreeTime Unlimited Subscription to use the filters, but once you do, they’re simple to set up. Just go to Smart Filters under Settings and slide the bar to the age range you think is most appropriate for your child.
If you want to get specific about the exact content your child is able to see, then you can do so on a more granular level for each of the following categories: Books, Videos, Games & Apps, Web and Kid Friendly. Click on anything within each category that you are okay with them accessing. If you want to change your mind, simply uncheck it.
The bottom line on setting parental controls on your child’s Kindle Fire
When it comes to tablets, there are pros and cons to weigh before giving your child one. If you decide the pros outweigh the cons, then you want to do everything you can to keep them safe and keep yourself in the know about how they're spending their time online. Setting parental controls on a Kindle Fire won’t prevent all problems, and they don’t eliminate the need for parental vigilance, but they definitely can help.
This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.
Officer Banta is the official SecurityNerd home security and safety expert. A member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before lending his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.