Kids love toys they can interact with, and apparently the Echo Dot fits that bill. Naturally, Amazon is making a version just for your children, and of course it’s more expensive.
The Echo Dot Kids Edition is largely the same hardware as the Echo Dot, but with a child-friendly case around it. It costs $79, versus the $49 price tag on the normal Echo Dot. If you’re wondering how a case justifies an extra $30 on top of the normal price of an Echo Dot, it doesn’t. You can buy third-party cases for way less. However, Amazon is adding a bunch of features just for parents to help manage their little ones.
The most important (and most free) feature are enhanced parental controls called FreeTime. You can add FreeTime to any Alexa device. When enabled, you can set time limits so kids can only speak to Alexa at certain times of the day. For example, you can block Alexa during dinner time or after bed time. You can also block explicit songs, monitor what your kids are asking of Alexa, and disable certain skills. It also adds a “Magic Word” mode which gives your children positive reinforcement when they say Please. Finally, your kids won’t grow up to be rude jerks because they use Alexa.
Then there’s FreeTime Unlimited, which is the closest thing to justifying the higher price tag on this Echo Dot. This is a subscription service that gives you over 300 children’s Audible books, ad-free radio stations, and even alarms voiced by children’s characters from shows made by Disney, Nickelodeon, and more. Normally, this subscription is $3/month, but you get a year-long free trial if you buy the Kids Edition. That year would normally cost $36 so if you actually use it, you’d come out a little bit ahead with this new Echo.
The Echo Dot Kids Edition is up for pre-order now and will be released on May 9th.