Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lars's Kindle has been Deregistered! Take That, You Little Book Bandit!

Lars's Kindle Keyboard 3G
Ugh -- when I checked my email this morning, I was met with several new greetings from Amazon, thanking me for kindle purchases that Lars the Book Bandito was making in the wee hours of the morning, without my permission, effortlessly charged to my American Express card via my Amazon account, with the click of one button.  It wouldn't even be so bad if he was downloading books to read, but he was downloading Active Content -- mind-numbing little games to play on his Kindle instead of using it for reading. 

If you missed my previous posts about my quest to find a child-friendly eReader for Lars and Anders, you can catch up here.  I ended up purchasing the Kindle Keyboard 3G (the version without promotional advertising) for both boys, and it's working out perfectly for Anders because he doesn't struggle with impulsivity the way that Lars does.  I told him one time, "If you want a new book for your Kindle, come and ask me for permission and I'll get it for you," and for Anders, that's enough.  But Lars breaks this rule again and again, several times a week, and then I have to take the Kindle away as a punishment consequence.  It's incredibly annoying.  I didn't buy the Kindle so I would have one more thing to take away, and I didn't buy it so he could play games on it, either -- I wanted him to have a dedicated electronic reader for reading books only, something I wouldn't have to limit the way we do the iPod, Playstation and Nintendo DS games.  I bought it so he could carry a hundred books around with him wherever he goes without breaking his little back and always have something to read.  I bought it so that, when he comes to an unfamiliar word while reading, he could highlight the word and instantly get a definition without having to put the book down and go looking for a dictionary.

So I called Amazon Kindle's tech support this morning, more to share my disappointment and frustration with a captive audience than because I thought there was anything they could do about it.  The first woman I spoke with told me that there are actually parental controls for wifi access on the newest Amazon Fire Kindle, and I looked at that online briefly, but then came to my senses -- I'm beyond punishment with Lars on this issue, because yelling and confiscating the Kindle isn't working, and is unpleasant for everyone in the house, but I'm not about to reward him for his behavior by buying him a brand-new, full-color, web-surfing Kindle, either.  I called Kindle Tech Support again, and this time I spoke with a young man who suggested changing my Amazon 1-click settings and using some kind of reloadable payment card as the default payment method for the Kindles so I could put $10 a month or whatever, and when he'd used that up it would decline additional purchases.

Still not satisfied -- here's why: The Kindle is great for reading books once they are downloaded, but the Kindle Store that you access through the device is difficult to navigate, and especially difficult to browse if your objective is to find good reading material for an 11-year-old boy.  That's why Lars has downloaded so many lame, super-short books, as well as the annoying Active Content games -- they're easiest for him to find.  It's much easier for me to find books for him when I browse Amazon on my PC, where I can find Listmania lists like "best sci-fi kindle books for all ages" or even search Listmania for lists containing other titles Lars has already read and enjoyed.  So I had an ephiphany -- What if I just deregistered Lars's Kindle from my Amazon account?  Tech support guy said that all of his current content would remain, and he just would not be able to make new purchases from the Kindle device if it isn't registered to an Amazon account.  Theoretically, I can log into my Amazon account and re-register his Kindle whenever I want to purchase new content for him, and then deregister the Kindle as soon as the content has finished downloading.  I can still get new content for his Kindle from wherever we are, because I can use the Safari browser on my iPad or iPhone to reregister his Kindle from anywhere.  I'm just going to have to type in the whole serial number and everything.  So I downloaded four new books for Lars this morning, and then I cut him off from my Amazon account.  I'll let you know how it works out!

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