Amazon wants to be a better babysitter

The online retailer has updated its Kindle Free Time parental control system so that children will have to hit educational goals in order to watch movies or play games.

The existing system, which parents can already use to limit the amount of time their children can spend on a tablet, is getting a big revamp, just in time for the holiday season.

Among the new features is something called "learn first," which allows parents to set educational targets or goals — such as 30 minutes' reading every day — which must be completed before using the tablet for gaming or other recreational uses.

Amazon has also re-categorised all of its apps as either entertainment or educational and when the tablets are put in "learn first" mode, only educational apps will be visible on the screen.

Parents will also be able to set different access times (what Amazon calls Free Time) for different days of the week. So, during the week, the tablet won't work at all in the evenings but on weekends, children can have access to content and apps for longer.

The update will be pushed out to existing tablets over the coming days. Amazon is not alone in offering parents greater control when it comes to their children's tablet use.

Apple has special pre-teen iTunes accounts so that children can only download a set of vetted titles and also offers parents the option of locking down access to the App Store or to in-app purchases.

Google offers multiple account support so that different members of the same household can sign into and use one tablet and in doing so have access to different files and features.

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