Amazon offers comprehensive parental controls through their service FreeTime, which enables parents to set daily time limits, add content, and review their child’s activity for all compatible Alexa devices. If parents choose to subscribe to the FreeTime Unlimited package, then they will also be able to filter the package’s content based on age and set educational goals.

How do I set parental controls on Alexa? Parental controls for Alexa devices can be set for a child in your Amazon Household using either the Amazon FreeTime app or online in the Parent Dashboard.

FreeTime parental controls cover everything from content your child can access to how much screen time they can use. The range of control and cross-platform flexibility makes Amazon FreeTime one of the more useful parental controls platforms available.

Alexa Parental Controls

Parental controls for Alexa devices are managed through FreeTime. Keep in mind that this does not mean that you need to subscribe to FreeTime Unlimited just to set parental controls.

Alexa Parental Control Features:

  • Daily time limits
  • Filtered content by age
  • Limiting explicit music and content
  • Alexa history access

FreeTime Unlimited is an optional, kid-friendly entertainment and education package that lets you filter its content by age. Without FreeTime Unlimited, parents can still add content, set daily limits, and view their child’s Alexa history.

Setting daily limits is one of the more powerful parental controls in the FreeTime suite. You can set devices to follow your child’s bedtime for both weekdays and weekends with “turn off by” and “stay off until” times.

You also can set a limit on daily total screen time, which is cumulative over all FreeTime enabled devices.

Also, the content you’ve purchased on Amazon (such as audible titles) can be added to FreeTime. And if you’ve subscribed to FreeTime Unlimited, all of its content is filterable by age range.

For example, you can adjust the settings to show content ranging from 2–5 years old for a small child or, for someone older, you could slide that range up to 10–13.

For Alexa devices, you can choose to enable or disable Smart Home access for your child as well as set explicit filters for any music players.

FreeTime also gives you quick access to your child’s Alexa history, allowing you to review each and every query given. You can also delete your child’s Alexa history here, which may be desirable for security and privacy.

Without using FreeTime, parental controls are limited to filtering explicit music and turning off the option to purchase things using your voice. When done through the Alexa controls, filtering music and turning off voice purchasing will apply to all your Alexa devices.

Why Parental Controls Are Important

With the ubiquity of technology in our everyday lives, it has become increasingly important for parents to have more comprehensive control over their child’s devices. Whether it’s content filters or the ability to turn off devices during bedtime, parental controls make it easier for parents to handle their child’s technology use.

Why Parental Controls Are Important:

  • Turning off devices at bedtime
  • Monitor exposure to certain things
  • Adding pre-screened content
  • Integrating educational activities

One of the most powerful uses of parental controls is to turn devices off before bedtime.

Turning off all screens at least an hour before bedtime (and keeping them off!) is important for a healthy night’s sleep. Parental controls offer a powerful tool to force devices off at a set time and to keep them off all night long.

The bedtime feature can even be useful for adults. For anyone struggling with putting their devices aside at night, you can put parental control on yourself to force better sleep habits.

Other parental controls can help parents guide what their kids are exposed to. You can choose to implement screen time limits to urge your kids to go out and play. You can track how much time they spend on educational apps and put incentives in place if it’s not much. And you can filter the content they have access to so that it’s age-appropriate.

Filters and adding pre-screened content can help create a safe electronic environment for your child to explore. If you don’t want pay-to-play games to be included in your child’s device, parental controls give you options to help keep them out.

On the other side, if you want apps and content that could help develop early math and reading skills, parental controls give an avenue to ensure they are included.

How to Set Parental Controls On Alexa

Setting up parental controls involves three major steps: adding a child to your Amazon Household, adjusting parental control settings in the child’s profile, and enabling FreeTime on your Alexa devices. All three parts of setting up parental controls for your Alexa device are broken down below.

Add a child to your Amazon Household:

  1. On Amazon’s website, go to “Your Account”
  2. Select “Amazon Household” (under “Shopping programs and rentals”)
  3. Select “Add a child”
  4. Enter your child’s name, gender, and age
  5. Select “Save”

Adjust parental control settings:

  1. Either go to your “Parent Dashboard” or open the “Amazon FreeTime” app
  2. Select the gear symbol next to your child’s name
  3. Select “Set Daily Time Limits”
  4. Adjust “Turn off by” and “Stay off until” times for your child’s bedtime for both Weekdays and Weekends
  5. Move the slider bar to adjust the daily total screen time limit
  6. Optional: set educational goals and opt to block entertainment content until education goals are met
  7. Apply changes and go back to your child’s settings
  8. If you’ve subscribed to FreeTime Unlimited (a kid-friendly entertainment and education package), then you can adjust the age limit for content by clicking “Age Filter” and moving the slider bar to the appropriate age
  9. Back in your child’s settings, you can also add content, control what the web browser can access, toggle in-app purchasing, set explicit filters for music players, and review your child’s Alexa history.

Enable FreeTime on your Alexa device (with the Alexa app)

  1. Open the “Amazon Alexa” app on your phone
  2. Select the “Devices” icon on the bottom menu bar
  3. Select “Echo & Alexa”
  4. All your Alexa devices should be listed here. Select the device you’d like to enable parental controls for.
  5. Under General Settings, scroll to FreeTime. Note that not all Amazon devices are compatible with FreeTime. If your device isn’t compatible, then the FreeTime option won’t be visible here.
  6. Select FreeTime and follow the given prompts to setup parental controls for that device.
  7. Repeat the process for all Alexa devices you wish to activate parental controls on.

Enable FreeTime on your Alexa device (without the Alexa app)

  1. Go to the Amazon Alexa webpage (https://alexa.amazon.com/?tag=smarthomestar-20)
  2. Select “Settings” in the left toolbar
  3. Under “Devices,” select the Alexa device you’d like to enable parental controls for.
  4. Under “General,” enable “FreeTime.” Note that not all devices are FreeTime compatible.
  5. Repeat the process for all Alexa devices you wish to activate parental controls on.

 

Alexa Parental Controls Without Using FreeTime

While most of Amazon’s parental controls are done through FreeTime, if you don’t wish to use the FreeTime service then you still have access to explicit music filtering and turning off voice purchasing. These changes will apply to all your Amazon devices.

Filter explicit music (with the Alexa app)

  1. Select the hamburger icon (the three horizontal bars in the top left of the app’s home screen)
  2. Select “Settings”
  3. Select “Music” (under “Alexa Preferences”)
  4. Select “Explicit Filter” (under “Account Settings”)
  5. Toggle “Explicit Filter” on

Turn off voice purchasing (with the Alexa app)

  1. Select the hamburger icon (the three horizontal bars in the top left of the app’s home screen)
  2. Select “Settings”
  3. Select “Alexa Account”
  4. Select “Voice Purchasing”
  5. Toggle “Purchase by voice” off

 

While the initial setup may seem convoluted for Alexa’s parental controls, the range of control and cross-platform flexibility of FreeTime makes up for it. Once you’ve gotten past the initial setup for your child’s FreeTime profile, you can go back at any time and easily change bedtime settings and accessible content across all Alexa devices.

Related Questions

Do I need to subscribe to FreeTime Unlimited to set parental controls?

 You do not need to subscribe to FreeTime Unlimited to use FreeTime. Basic parental controls will work just fine without having the entertainment and educational content provided with Unlimited.

Do I need to add a child to my Amazon Household to use parental controls?

 A child profile is needed to set parental controls using FreeTime. You will need to enter a name, age, and gender for your child. You will not be able to use the parental control options available with FreeTime if you don’t have a child in your Amazon Household.

How can I help protect my child’s privacy while using Alexa?

All Alexa queries are logged. If you’re concerned about privacy and security, you can go to your child’s Alexa history and delete all entries. You will need to do this every now and then if you want to be careful.