With Alexa, you can easily control your devices with voice commands and save yourself some time when your daily routine gets too hectic. It can control numerous smart-home devices and do plenty of things for you: update apps, switch off the lights, turn on the TV, play music, and more.
You probably have many questions about Alexa, but if you’re a parent, there’s one extremely important. Does Alexa have parental controls?
The answer is yes. If you’ve provided your kids with an Alexa speaker, you can also activate parental controls on this device to make sure they’re safe when you’re not around.
How to Enable Parental Controls with Alexa
Amazon Echo speakers come in three versions, and each has the Alexa voice assistant. It’s very convenient for family use, and there are multiple ways you can monitor your kids with it.
If you want to avoid your children watching inappropriate content online, spend too much time using the device, or accessing your credit cards, learn how to set up parental control options.
Before choosing the options you find suitable for your family, you need to create a Household account. It’s fast and easy:
- Sign in to your Amazon profile.
- Choose Your Account from Accounts and Lists.
- Choose Amazon Household in the Shopping programs and rentals section.
- Select Add a child and follow the instructions to add each of your children to the app.
The Manage Your Content and Devices option will help you manage what your children can access.
Now, there are a couple of ways to monitor your kids when they’re using the Amazon Echo. You can either disable some features or enable the FreeTime option.
FreeTime Parental Controls
This feature is available on all Echo devices – you only need a monthly subscription to enable it.
- Open the Alexa app on your phone and tap on the Devices button in the bottom right corner of the screen.
- Select the device where you want to use FreeTime. If the Groups feature is on, you will first need to open it to access the desired device.
- Scroll to find FreeTime and select it.
- Tap the toggle at the top of your screen to enable it.
- Follow the instructions to set up a FreeTime account for your kid.
If you change your mind at some point and you want to disable this feature, follow the same instructions, and put the toggle to Disable again.
From the Parent Dashboard Settings, you can now add some useful and interesting content you’d like your child to have access to while using the Amazon Echo. You can also try out Alexa Skills and set daily time limits – this helps you monitor how much time your child spends on the device.
What are Alexa Skills?
It’s a cool feature that shows your child you’re not just about controlling them, but also about providing some quality content for them.
Among Alexa Skills, you can find multiple educational games that can help your kid focus better or simply have fun, and they’re organized into categories based on the child’s age. There’s plenty of content for everyone – from toddlers to teenagers.
What Features Can I Control with FreeTime?
Visiting the parents.amazon.com link will give you access to all the features you can control when it comes to your children using the Echo devices with Alexa. You’ll find a list of all devices on which you’ve enabled the FreeTime feature.
For example, you can activate the Explicit Language Filter, which doesn’t allow your child to listen to just any song. To do this, launch your Alexa app, tap the hamburger icon in the upper left corner of the screen to access Settings. Choose Music and Podcasts to enable the filter.
Other options include setting a timer for your kids’ online activities. If you set a time limit for different apps, reading, or watching activities, your children won’t be able to continue once they reach the time limit.
You can also pause the device for a certain period. If your children keep using the device after you’ve told them it’s time for bed, for example, you can easily pause the Echo. The maximum period during which an Echo device can be “frozen” is 12 hours.
If your kids make phone calls or message other users, you will also be able to monitor it or disable Calling & Messaging altogether.
If you choose to upgrade this feature to FreeTime Unlimited, your kids will gain access to more than 15,000 apps that include audiobooks, eBooks, videos, games, and a plethora of educational apps. With Alexa, your children can also listen to the radio without having to listen to annoying ads.
Other Parental Control Options
Does Alexa have parental controls other than the FreeTime feature? If you haven’t planned on purchasing add-ons to monitor your kids, don’t worry. You can still have some control over their online activity by using Alexa’s in-app features.
Do Not Disturb Mode
This mode can stop any sound coming Amazon Echo speakers, including notifications. This feature is useful if your children try to use the speaker past their bedtime.
Open your Alexa app and go to Settings. Tap on the device name and go to the Do Not Disturb tab. Tap the toggle switch to enable this mode. Once it’s on, proceed to Scheduled and enter the period during which you want this mode to be active.
Turn Off Voice Purchasing
Kids may desperately want a toy you can’t afford. If they can access Voice Purchasing on the Echo speaker, you could find yourself in an unpleasant situation. So, here’s how to turn off the Voice Purchasing.
- Open either the Alexa app on your smartphone or go to alexa.amazon.com in a browser.
- Select the menu icon and then open Settings.
- Find Voice Purchasing and click to open.
- Set up a PIN to prevent your children from buying stuff without asking you, or turn this option completely off.
Monitor, Entertain, Keep Safe
Does Alexa have parental controls? Yes. Are they easy to find and simple to use? Yes. Do you like Alexa even more now? You probably do.
Your children might protest being under your control, but you know it’s for their good. Once they realize how fun FreeTime feature can be and how many entertaining and educational apps they can access, they will certainly be more open to suggestions, and you’ll be able to enjoy this great feature as a family.