Child with Amazon Kindle Fire tablet

Raising kids in a digital age is tough. How much screen time is too much? What devices have the best parental controls? Should I setup their device under my account or their own? It’s confusing, frustrating, and sometimes aggravating that the most popular online services seem to ignore a HUGE future customer base: our kids.

I am the proud father of a 10 (going on 16) year old girl and 8 year old boy (that loves to read and reads on a middle school level). These are my kids. They love their devices as much as their early-adopter dad. But there’s a problem, I’ve yet to find a device that has good parental controls that actually does what parental controls should.

Amazon Prime

I can give family members access to my Prime 2-day shipping, but my kids aren’t ordering stuff on Amazon (yet, thank goodness). They want to watch movies and shows on Amazon Prime, read books, and play games. Why can’t I give my kids access to these features of my Prime membership?

If you can’t give them access under their own login (or sub-account), then at least give us a discounted rate. Because, like I said, they’re not using the 2-day shipping or many other perks available to Prime members. They just want the features associated with the devices. Maybe you could offer a heavily discounted membership for dependents under 18? Because I’m not paying $100/year per child so they can watch shows on their Kindles. And I’m not giving them full access to my account so they can see my full account details, either. Which brings us to parental controls…

Parental Controls

Right now, if I set my kids’ devices up under my account, they will have access to my entire account. Purchase history, my entire Kindle library, all my apps, you name it. I can only turn on or off features at the feature-level. For instance, I can turn off Internet, or leave it on. I can turn off books, or leave it on. If it’s on, they have access to download any of my books. Same with apps.

I wish Amazon would add parental controls that work. Let us setup sub-accounts with parental controls tied to the login. Let us set which books each sub-account has access to, which features they can use, and for how long. I don’t want to restrict my son’s reading, but I want to limit the amount of time my daughter watches TV shows.

How I Set Them Up

My daughter has a Kindle Fire HD, and I set hers up under her own account because I don’t want her to have access to my entire book collection. But as a result, she can’t watch Amazon Prime shows or movies. She’s got Netflix, but as an Amazon Prime member, I should be able to let her access it. I disabled the web browser, email, and purchasing. She has to come to me to purchase a new app.

My son’s Kindle Paperwhite is also setup with his own account, and we loaded it up with a gift card so he can purchase books through the store. I disabled the web browser, just like I did on my daughter’s. Unfortunately, since he’s setup with his own (non-Prime) account, he doesn’t have access to the Kindle Lending Library.

Give Us One or the Other

I really wish I could setup really detailed parental controls (which books, which apps, etc) or that I could setup my kids’ accounts under my Amazon Prime membership to give them access to Amazon Instant Video and the Kindle Lending Library. It would make all the difference.

Given the millions and millions of Amazon customers who have children, I’m honestly surprised no one has stepped up to the plate here. So Amazon, what’s it going to be? Pretty please?