Quick Guide: Parental Controls for Amazon Fire Devices
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Recently, I was asked about parental controls for Amazon Fire devices. If you’re looking for powerful parental controls and child-friendly features in a tablet, Fire OS is actually pretty impressive. Amazon Fire devices are also amazingly inexpensive when compared to Android tablets and iPads.
I want to note that Amazon Fire and Kindle devices are different devices. Kindle is an eReader whereas the Amazon Fire is a tablet. Confused as to which device is best for you? Take this easy questionnaire to help you decide.
Amazon Fire devices give users the option of using parental controls for quickly locking down a device. In addition to parental controls, users can set up “child profiles” for up to 4 children. One additional parent account can be added as well. You can add your own content to each child or teen profile you create, but using the Kindle FreeTime feature is also an option (this is built into Amazon Fire devices). And, for a small fee, your kids can have access to tons of age-appropriate content. It’s hands-down the easiest parental control solution I’ve seen for any device.
To Lock Down Your Amazon Fire Device
- Use the parental controls feature.
- Set up child profiles. You can add content to each child profile and/or use the Kindle FreeTime.
While each option takes a different approach, both are intended for locking down your device and restricting what your kids can do.
Before we discuss Kindle FreeTime, let’s look at the difference between Parental Controls and Child Profiles. It’s really helpful to understand the difference in the two settings so you can select the best option for your family.
Parental Controls for Amazon Fire
Enabling the parental controls feature for the Amazon Fire device will block access to a variety of features on the tablet. These include the web browser, email, contacts, calendars, social sharing, the camera, Amazon’s stores, purchases, video playback, different types of content, Wi-Fi settings, and location services. You don’t have to block all of these; instead, you can decide which of these you would like to block.
This option doesn’t require you to set up another user profile. Parental controls is a restriction placed on the current account that can’t be removed or changed unless you know the password.
Child Profiles for Amazon Fire
Rather than just activating parental controls, you can customize controls for the specific needs of each child by creating child profiles. Up to four “child profiles” or “teen profiles” can be created for each main account (device). You can use Amazon’s Kindle FreeTime feature to do so; you can also choose which apps, eBooks, and other content you want to share with each child profile. One really nice feature is the ability to set time limits. Users can set limits for their child on the tablet for different purposes. Limits can also be set that require your child to use educational content before they can play games or watch videos. There is even a “bed time” option so you can set hours during which the child profile isn’t available. No more arguing about staying up for one more game! The device will shut down.
So now that we understand the difference between Parental Controls and Child Profiles, let’s look at how to enable each.
Enabling Parental Controls on your Amazon Fire
To activate parental controls:
- Swipe down from the top of the screen to open the Quick Settings box.
- Tap “Settings.”
- Under Personal tap “Parental controls” option.
- Activate the “Parental Controls” slider and you’ll be prompted to create a parental control password. You’ll need this password for enabling, disabling, or configuring parental controls. Be sure to note or remember the password you use! You can change it from this screen later, but you’ll need the password to do so.
- Use the other options on the screen to control access to the web browser, email, contacts, calendars, social sharing, the camera, Amazon’s stores, videos, other types of content, Wi-Fi settings, and location services settings.
When you set up and enable Parental Controls, a lock icon appears at the top of the screen. To disable them, pull down the notification shade at the top of the screen, tap the “Parental controls are enabled” option, and then enter your password.
You can leave parental controls enabled except when you want to use the tablet yourself. This will ensure that your children can’t make purchases, mess with your email, watch age-inappropriate videos, or browse the web if you’ve set parental controls to block them.
Note: Make sure that you record your password. If you forget your Parental Controls password, you will need to reset your Amazon Fire to factory defaults to restore full access. This will remove all content and account information from your device. After resetting, you can re-register your Amazon Fire, and re-download your content from the Cloud. You can access and download your content from the Cloud at any time.
Creating Child Profiles on your Amazon Fire
To create a new child profile:
- Swipe down from the top of the screen to open the Quick Settings box.
- Tap “Settings.”
- Under Personal, tap “Profiles & Family Library” to create new profiles and manage existing ones.
- Tap the “Add a child profile” option and you’ll be able to add one or more profiles.
You’ll be able to choose which content you want to share, and you can tap the child’s name later to add more controls. For example, you could set up daily time limits and choose when the child is allowed to use the device and for how long they can do different things on it. Each child profile will get their own kid-friendly screen. Teen profiles will get the standard Amazon Fire tablet screen but it will still have the appropriate content and features set for them as you’ve allowed.
You are now ready for multiple users to log in! Let’s give it a try.
From the lock screen, tap the profile picture at the top-right corner and select a new user to switch users. You can also pull down the quick settings menu while signed in, tap the profile picture, and select a new user account.
To view information about how your child has been using the tablet, you can open the “FreeTime” app.
There are a number of affordable Amazon Fire devices for families. All of them come with easy-to-use, kid-friendly features and parental controls. Amazon OS is ahead of Apple’s iOS which still doesn’t offer multiple user accounts or profiles on a single iPad for families. I expect Amazon will continue adding new parental controls to Fire OS. If you’re looking for an affordable device with an easy parental control option, an Amazon Fire is exactly what you need.
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Teen profiles do not get the standard Kindle Fire screen; they get a variation of the child profile screen. Furthermore, teen profiles are still child profiles as far as the family account is concerned. If you set up a teen profile in your Amazon Family, that profile does not show up on the tablet; it’s only usable within the Amazon shopping app on Android or iOS. You can’t even log into the site from a web browser using the teen profile. Amazon has really dropped the ball here.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. You are correct-Teens are sharing their parent’s Amazon Prime account. Access for shopping is not available from a web browser. It’s only available through the Amazon shopping app. Orders are approved by parents before being processed. The teen profile I have does show on my Kindle Fire screen. And, yes teen profiles are a version of the child profile screen. I don’t know Amazon has dropped the ball. I think they haven’t added in enough options for the varying needs of parents with teens. I’d like to see more options. With more options always comes a bit of bulkiness for users.
Very Insightful Leah, Sharing this on Pinterest. I’m sure it will help a lot of moms.
Thank you Dan. And, I appreciate you sharing.
Can you tell the fire to allow access to only certain websites?
Great question. No. You can add a website to allow it along with the age approved websites for your child or teen. But, you can’t allow only a certain list of websites like you are able to do with iOS devices. I hope that helps.
This is incorrect, the pre-approved list is activated automatically when you enable the browser, however, you can enable the browser, then disable the pre-approved list, and then add your own custom list of approved sites. So your child account can then only view the sites from your custom list.
You can and that feature is nice. I actually have that set up under the teen profile on mine. However, this is set up once you set up child profiles. I broke this down into 2 options: Parental Controls for parents who just want to set up parental controls and not set up child profiles. And, creating child profiles which give parents many more options to customize (as you suggested). Creating the child profiles is ideal for parents who have kids using the device often. I hope that helps.