While the Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition is landing in the US, it seems Amazon is on a worldwide push to make Alexa child friendly on the other side of the pond.
The company has teamed up to make dedicated and exclusive Lego, Pac-Man, Moshi and Beano skills in the UK, providing dedicated content for kids.
Most of the skills provide interactive bedtime stories, where children can affect the outcome of the narrative. It sounds a bit like those choose-your-own adventure books, but in voice assistant form. And Amazon is getting in on the action too, with Amazon Storytime, read by Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant. You can just say “Alexa, read me a bedtime story” to access.
Amazon UK is also providing its own parental controls, via an option which will appear in the Alexa app. This will give parents the chance to shut down kids skills, when bedtime really means bedtime. To toggle them on/off just go to Settings > Kids Skills.
It’s an interesting announcement for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it shows that Amazon’s new focus is making Alexa more child-friendly, and all the interesting applications that enables. But also, it shows how Amazon is working flat-out to add features to Alexa, so much so that it’s falling over itself to get them out.
The Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition came with FreeTime, a parental controls service which offers an aspects of this latest, UK only announcement – albeit with far more features available. This has nothing to do with FreeTime, which will presumably go worldwide at some point. At that point, there may need to be a rolling back of UK-only functionality.
You can get involved by barking the following commands at Alexa:
“Alexa, start Lego Duplo Stories.”
“Alexa, launch Pac-Man Stories.”
“Alexa, open Moshi Twilight.”
“Alexa, open Beano.”
“Alexa, read me bedtime a story.”
“Alexa, what are your kid skills?”