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Amazon app blocks playtime until homework’s done

Amazon’s Freetime app stops kids playing games when they should be doing homework.

Amazon has launched an app that parents can install to stop kids being distracted by games on their tablet. The FreeTime app prevents your child from being able to launch a game or watch videos on their Amazon Kindle HDX or Kindle Fire tablet until a certain amount of time has elapsed.

Freetime lets encourage work before play.

For example, if you tap the option to ‘Learn First’ you can then specify how many minutes they must spend on ‘Educational Goals’ such as reading or going over vocabulary lists before they can choose something else to do on their tablet. As with parental controls on a Windows computer, the Time Limits part of the FreeTime app can be set to lock out non-educational content at particular times of the day, and can have different time restrictions for different days of the week.  

Amazon says of Free Time: “Parents can create a profile for each of their children and choose the content they want to give their kids access to. Parents can also set daily limits for use or restrict certain categories like games while leaving unlimited time for reading”.

Bestselling children’s books are included in the library of content that can be accessed on a Kindle tablet that has FreeTime installed. 

Amazon is plugging its Kindle tablets as the most family-friendly range of devices on the market and says Kindles that already have FreeTime installed will automatically receive an update this side of Christmas that adds the Time Limits options. 

FreeTime launched in the US in October last year and was listed as one of the launch apps for the Amazon Kindle HDX in the UK. However, there was no sign of FreeTime when the Kindle HDX started shipping here on 12 November. It finally launched on 25 November and is available as an over-the-air update for the Kindle HDX that adds it to the device. Kindle Fire and Fire HD tablet owners can also install FreeTime by turning on the Wi-Fi on their tablet, tapping Sync and selecting FreeTime in the Kindle library. 

-Rosemary Hattersley


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