(BPT) - If you're considering a technology gift for the kids in your life, you may be wondering: Is there a guilt-free option that kids will enjoy, that's also safe and educational?
The answer is yes, if you do your research. Bobbie Thomas, style editor for NBC's TODAY show and mom to Miles, knows how important it is to select smart tech that is safe, fun and educational for kids of any age. Here are her top things parents and caregivers should look for when choosing any technology device:
1. Look for devices designed to be kid-friendly
"The first thing I look for is a device built with kids in mind," says Bobbie. "Amazon has a whole suite of kid-friendly options to choose from."
Fire Kids tablets have a big bumper that helps with drops, and a 2-year worry-free warranty is a must for little ones: if it breaks, send it back, and Amazon will replace it. Amazon also offers Fire Kids Pro tablets for older kids, which have a sleek but sturdy case and a more grown-up interface. On these, the web browser has built-in controls to help filter out inappropriate sites, and kids can ask to download content using the digital store, which sends a request to parents to approve purchases or downloads.
"We're big on reading in my house, which is why I love Kindle Kids. When a child sits down with their Kindle, they read on average more than an hour a day! That's because Kindle Kids is purpose-built for reading - there are no distractions from apps, videos or games. Like all of Amazon Kids' devices, Kindle Kids comes with one year of Amazon Kids+, their digital subscription service, so kids have instant access to thousands of great books, from award-winning classics to newer titles their friends are reading."
"How about an Alexa-enabled device designed just for kids? We have Echo Dot Kids and Echo Show 5 Kids. On these devices Alexa offers kid-friendly responses, jokes, bedtime stories and homework help. They can play music, and Alexa will automatically filter songs with explicit lyrics, so kids can listen independently. Kids can make even more calls to parent-approved contacts, or use their Echo as a home intercom. Plus, they come in really cute designs, like the new Owl and Dragon."
2. Parental controls
Every child is unique and every parenting style is different. You can't always be looking over your child's shoulder to see what they are doing on their devices, but you can set up parental controls that help keep kids safe and engaged with the content you find appropriate.
From Fire Kids tablets and Echo Kids smart speakers and displays to the beloved Kindle Kids, all of Amazon's kid-friendly devices come with award-winning parental controls that put parents and caregivers in charge of their kids' digital well-being. Set daily time limits and age filters, view usage history and manage content for up to four child profiles. You can use Amazon's Parent Dashboard on your mobile device or the web to easily curate a digital experience for your kids that aligns with your own parenting style.
3. Education first
When a child opens an engaging, age-appropriate world of education on their devices, you can feel proud that tech time is time well spent. For example, "Learn First," also on the Parent Dashboard, allows parents to set educational goals, like reading or watching educational videos, for kids to meet before unlocking entertainment like shows and games.
As a caregiver, you want your child's technology time to be engaging and educational, not filled with advertisements. That's why it's important to select technology and content that are ad-free. These devices come to life with thousands of hours of ad-free content from Amazon Kids+.
It is the only kid-focused content service with thousands of ad-free books, games, videos, music, apps and Alexa skills, from trusted brands like Disney, Lego, Nat Geo and PBS Kids. There's always something new for kids to explore, so they'll stay engaged. Plus, so much of it is educational, but it's so much fun kids don't realize how much they're learning.
You can visit Amazon.com/ForKids to learn more about kid-friendly devices for different ages, parental controls and content that puts education first.