If you have an Amazon Alexa device and you have kids, then you know kids love talking to Alexa! Amazon knows that too. The Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition is an Echo design just for your kids! I took it for a test.
The Echo Dot Kids Edition is an Echo Dot (2nd Generation). Hardware-wise it's exactly the same except Amazon put it in a colorful rubber shell. The one I tested was bright green, it also comes in blue and red. You can easily pull the Echo Dot out of the kid's shell if you prefer.
The magic of the Echo Dot Kid's Edition is in the software. It comes with 1 year of FreeTime Unlimited. This is the service that really turns the Echo Dot into a Dot designed for Kids!
FreeTime gives your kids access to hundreds of Audible books, ad-free kid-friendly radio stations and premium Echo skills and games designed for kids. After that 1st year you will have to pay for this content, $3 per month.
The beauty of the Echo Dot Kid's Edition is that Mom and Dad have total control over the device from the web. You can set the age of your child so the Dot knows what content is appropriate which content isn't. You can also decide what your kids can and cannot access. I specifically like how you can turn the Echo Dot off during certain hours and certain days. This is a great way to keep those kids from talking to Alexa into the wee hours of the night or during homework time.
Oh Wait, There's More!
On top of this the Echo Dot Kid's Edition also comes with a 2-year replacement program. If your kid's break it, Amazon will replace it. There's no catch here. If they dump water on top of it, Amazon will replace it for free. Anyone with kids knows, this is a godsend and a nice perk.
Things to Think About
Yes, Amazon filters out questionable content from your kids. Yes, parents got control from the family web portal. Yes, Amazon Freetime Unlimited provides some great kid-appropriate content. With all of that said, it's still an Alexa device. It's not a screen but it is an internet connected device that can do many of the same things the normal Alexa device can do. You still have to decide, as a parent, if this is something you want in your kid's room or rec room. You still have to make those adult decisions to decide if your child is mature enough to handle access to a device like this.
Amazon is genius. Amazon realized quickly that kids loved talking to Alexa and figured out an awesome way to tap into that. The Echo Dot Kid's Edition does a great job of doing 2 things; providing great kid-appropriate content that parents can feel good about and providing parental controls that help Mom and Dad maintain control over the Echo and what it can or can't do. If you want to give your kiddos access to an Amazon Alexa, this is the perfect way to do it. You'll pay a premium for it above standard Echo Dot but the rubber shell, 1-year of FreeTime and 2-year protection package make it well worth the extra money.