The New Kindle for Kids: Is It Worth It?

Amazon recently rolled out a new version of Kindle for kids. Here's everything parents should know about Amazon's new e-reader.

The holiday season is just around the corner. For the kid who has everything, Amazon might have just the thing to make your shopping a little easier.

The new Kindle Kids e-reader – Amazon’s first e-reader geared toward kids – was unveiled this month and it comes with a kid-friendly cover and offers an ad-free experience. As Amazon puts it, “no games, ads or videos means zero distractions – just reading.”

The new Kindle Kids Edition, priced as a bundle at $109.99, is available for pre-order now and will be released on Oct. 30. It comes with a cover, a replacement guarantee and one free year of FreeTime Unlimited, which is Amazon’s subscription service that offers thousands of book titles.

Once the subscription ends, FreeTime Unlimited starts at $2.99 per month, CNET notes in a recent article about the e-reader.

Here’s what else you should know about this new device for kids.

Kid-friendly features

  • The e-reader is a 10th generation Kindle and comes with a kid-friendly, magnetic cover. “It opens and closes just like a book to wake your Kindle or put it to sleep,” according to Amazon.
  • Cover choices include blue, pink, a rainbow birds design and a space station design.
  • The Kindle Kids Edition is made for kids and designed justfor reading, “which means no distractions from apps, videos or games,” Amazon notes.
  • If you’re worried about your kids breaking (yet another?) expensive device, don’t be. “The 2-year worry-free guarantee includes coverage for anything that happens to your Kindle Kids Edition,” Amazon explains.

More about Amazon’s subscription service

  • FreeTime Unlimited is a digital subscription service that offers unlimited access to “thousands of kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games.”
  • Though it starts at $2.99 per month for one child for Prime members, the family plan that accommodates up to four children costs $6.99 per month for Prime members and $9.99 for non-members.
  • In addition to reading books on their Kindle, kids with the FreeTime subscription can also play content on Kindle Fire, Echo Dots, cellphones and other devices.
  • Parental controls are a major emphasis on FreeTime Unlimited. There’s a parent dashboard available to view what kids are reading or watching, plus age filters, time limits and other protections. In-app purchases aren’t allowed without parental approval.

Is the new Kindle right for your child?

Excitement is high for the new Kindle Kids Edition, especially since it could help kids develop a greater enjoyment for reading. It could even boost kids’ literacy, thanks to integrated features like Word Wise, which will define difficult words for kids and turn those words into flashcards for review in the future, an Engadget article about the new device points out.

But some critics say an e-reading device for kids may not be the best choice. Some research points to books providing a more rich reading experience, MIT Technology Review points outs, and getting kids hooked on yet another device could come with issues of its own, too.

What’s your take on the Kindle Kids Edition? Tell us in the comments.

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