Wednesday, October 3, 2012

FINALLY!!! The New Kindle Paperwhite has PARENTAL CONTROLS!!

New Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, Now with Parental Controls!
Isn't it great when product manufacturers listen to what their customers want?  Today I learned that Amazon's newest Kindle e-reader device, the Paperwhite, actually has the parental controls I've been begging Amazon for.  I just ordered two of them for Lars and Anders.  They are backordered, and expected to ship out sometime in November.

With the boys' current Kindle Keyboards, the devices are registered to my Amazon account and the boys were able to purchase and download new content on their own way too easily, with a couple of clicks, and it would automatically charge to my American Express card.  One little boy was able to play by the rules and ask permission first, but the OTHER little boy has some, ahem, impulse control issues

On the whole, I really love the Kindles for my kids.  The digital books are slightly less expensive than their paper equivalents, they are environmentally friendly, they can both read the same book at the same time without fighting over it (and I only have to pay for it once, since both devices are registered to my account).  I really love the ease with which the kids can pull up a dictionary definition for unfamiliar words on their Kindles just by highlighting the text, and -- best of all -- I don't have to buy any more bookshelves for their bedrooms or figure out where to fit yet another bookcase.

I don't know the details of how the parental controls work yet, but Amazon says I'll have the ability to restrict my little Book Bandit from the Kindle Store as well as from the Internet.  I'll post an update once the new Kindles show up.

UPDATE, 10/7/2012:  Even better news -- the kindle keyboard e-readers that we already own were automatically updated wirelessly today to the newest version 3.4, and this new software update has optional parental controls that allow me to restrict access to the experimental web browsing AND to the Kindle Store.  I enabled the restrictions, and all is smooth sailing.  I canceled my order for the new Kindle Paperwhites. 


Anonymous said...

Are you really satisfied with the parental controls? My 12 yr old book lover got one as a gift for Christmas. We even joined Prime. I think the controls are TERRIBLE. The control should be at the point of purchase not shutting down the entire store. Now she can't even look for books.
She kept buying books thinking they were free. The explanations for use are also terrible. I'm also not satisfied with Amazon's response. Prime is not worth my money either.
I love the parental controls on Apple products.

Rebecca Grace said...

Actually, yes -- I do love the parental controls on the new kindle Paperwhites. My kids had wide-open access to browse the book store (and all of the stupid game apps) with their old kindles, and it was a huge distraction. Again, I want them READING on the kindles, NOT shopping. I also found that it was very difficult to shop for books directly from the kindle device unless you're looking for a specific title. There are to many low-cost or freebie books that seem like they might be worth reading from the blurb, but end up being a chapter or two with a cliff hanger, enticing them to "buy now" to find out what happens next. Junk! So I purchase several books at a time for them on my PC, just as I used to do at a bricks-and-mortar Barnes and Noble, and send the content to both devices. That way they have books to keep them busy for awhile, and they let me know when they need more. I can also "borrow" digital downloads for them for free from our local Charlotte, NC public library (although the digital selection at public libraries depends on what each library has chosen to purchase access to). Did you realize that there are free book rentals available for the kindle through Amazon Prime as well?

I hope your daughter's kindle works out for you both. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reply. We are heavy library users and rarely purchase new books. I will look into our library system further. We have used it some with our Apple devices. Yes, I realize that we can only get one free book per calendar month through Prime. Basically, I'm paying 6.66 for this book. I don't care about the other 'advantages' of Prime. I think I was most upset with Amazon's reply to her accidental purchases. I didn't catch them because we were on vacation and I wasn't checking my email.

If it saves us a trip to the library then it might be a useful device. However, at this point my daughter just wants to return it. She was in tears and just kept saying that she thought the books were free. I'm not really sure how, something about the borrow for free button. Amazon is not organized like a brick and mortar for instance when she was looking for fairies, Fifty Shades of Grey popped up. I don't have to worry about this at the library or even the bookstore. Indie book stores are fun. Libraries are awesome. This device has been nothing but frustrating. I won't list all my frustrations here.
In hindsight we should have sat down with her to figure the device out. However, we were on vacation at the time. I don't think that would have prevented my dissatisfaction with the device and Amazon service. Amazon's one goal is to sell products. The system is set up to make that easy. We are looking into returning the Kindle.
Thanks again

John Gunter said...

Are the parental controls password protected? What I am most concerned with is access to the internet? Can you shut down internet browsing completely through a password?


Rebecca Grace said...

Yes, John. My kids are locked out of the Kindle Store AND the Experimental Web Browser on their 1st generation Kindle Paperwhites. Amazon is releasing an All-New Paperwhite at the end of this month that sounds even better, although the FANTASTIC parental control options and educational features for kids is supposed to come out in a software update later this fall. I'm hoping the software update is for older devices, too, or else I'm going to have to upgrade! I reviewed the new features in today's blog post, here: