Parental controls for the Kindle Fire

5/3/2012 – Two weeks after lamenting about the limited parental controls for Kindle Fire, Amazon released a software update.  New parental control features include password-protection for purchases and the ability to disable content.  These new features are included in the article below.

Kindle Fire

I’ve written recently about some of the restriction settings and parental controls available for Apple products like iPod touch and iPads.  But what about the Kindle Fire?  The parental control options were updated to include password-protected purchases and restriction by content type.  Previously you could only restrict Wi-Fi and In-App purchases.  Here’s the scoop.

What’s a Kindle Fire?

Kindle Fire was released in November 2011 as Amazon’s attempt to enter the tablet market with a pumped-up version of their popular Kindle reader.  With a smaller screen and a smaller price tag, the Kindle Fire is an alternative to the popular Apple iPad.  You can read books, search the web, watch movies, download apps and play games, just like on an iPad.  One main difference is that the Kindle does not have a camera, which is probably one reason for the lower price.

Where are the Parental Control settings on the Kindle Fire?

  1. From the top of the screen, click the Settings icon (looks like a gear) and then More….Screenshot showing how to find Kindle Fire settings
  2. The 3rd option is Parental Controls.  The first time you see this screen, parental controls are disabled.
  3. Click On to Enable Parental Controls.
  4. Create a password that you will remember and your kids won’t guess.  Then enter it again to confirm.
  5. Click Finish.

What are the Parental Control options on the Kindle Fire?

Once you’ve enabled parental controls, you’ll see the following options:

Web Browser – change Unblocked to Blocked to restrict the web browser.  This will prevent your kids from visiting websites.

Password Protect Purchases – with this set to “On”, you will be prompted for a password before making a purchase from the store or App shop.  So, junior will not be able to purchase books, videos, music or apps without you there to enter the parental control password.

Password Protect Video Playback – set this to “On” to require a password before playing a video.

Block and Unblock Content Types – You can choose to block the Newsstand, Books, Music, Video, Docs or Apps.  If you block apps, you or your child will not be able to access apps that were previously installed.

Password Protect Wi-Fi – this was the only parental control setting available before the update.  It would disable the Wi-Fi capability of the device.  With the new parental control options, there may no longer be a reason to use this as you can disable content without shutting down Wi-Fi.

What about in-app purchases?

Another restriction you can set is preventing in-app purchases.    This setting is found in the App store.

  1. Go to Apps > Store > Settings > Parental Controls.
  2. Then click the box to Enable Parental Controls.  Enter your Amazon.com password, or create a 4-digit PIN instead.
  3. Now go back to Settings and click In-App Purchasing.   Un-check the box and enter your password.

No more worrying about junior running up a bill while trying to collect gems, points, bombs or the like.

See these instructions with screenshots here.  (I’d do my own screenshots but you cannot easily grab them from the Kindle like you can from the iPad without mucking about in the Android SDK manager.  Doesn’t that sound a bit scary?)

Summary

The Kindle Fire update offers better parental control options with the recent software update.    If you want even more robust control in the Kindle, there are a few parental control apps you can install.  I found three in the Amazon App store – Kids Place, Kid Mode, and Cloudacl WebFilter.  In addition, the Mobicip browser, which I mentioned for Apple gadgets previously, is coming soon for Kindle.   I didn’t see it in the Amazon app store but it’s available in beta from their website.  Once I have a chance to try some of these, I’ll report back on these other parental control options for the Kindle Fire.

Got a Kindle? How do you handle kids’ access on the Kindle Fire? Let me know in the comments!

(Want a Kindle Fire? Check out the details on Amazon.com)

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Comments

  1. andrea says

    well i have the kindle fire. 1st gen. and i actually bought it for my son for the books since we dont ge t to go to the library often and he loves to read. but i have also put parental controls on it so he dont have free access to the web without my knowledge… but at the same time one day the password worked. then the next day they didnt. i know what it is. and i have been trying to get in to it but i just cant and everytime i try it says to reset bact to factory default and i dont want to do that because i dont want to lose all the data alrady there. so what do i do? PLEASE help me

    • Jean says

      Hi Andrea, sorry to hear about the trouble you’re having with the Kindle. As far as I know, resetting to factory default is the only way to restore the password, according to the Amazon website and support forums. You won’t lose all data, for example purchases are remembered on the Amazon site and then you can go back and load them to the device again. You might want to post your question on the forums and see if anyone else knows of a work-around.

      • Shannon says

        You can sign in to amazon on a computer & reset parental control password from there. That way you don’t lose anything on the kindle. They need to fix that problem though cause the same thing happened to me.

  2. Jean says

    Hi Jerry,
    Well on the original Kindle fire that I have, the only way to block email is to block the “Apps” content type in Parental controls. With that done, you can still click to the store to purchase books or music. Not sure about the newer Kindle Fire HD. But to be sure you might want to check Kindle support.

    ~Jean

  3. james says

    how do i resett my kindle fire parental controls password if i forgot it because i forgot it and my sister wants to play games on it and i forgot my password

  4. Jean says

    Sorry james, as far as I know, resetting to factory default is the only way to restore the password, according to the Amazon website and support forums.

    • shawn says

      I have tried to reset to factory default after forgetting parental control pass word but it wants same forgotten password to do it ?

      • Jean says

        Hi shawn,
        I’m not really sure about that, perhaps the device password is different than the parental control password? Would be a good question for the Amazon forums.

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