Amazon has included excellent parental controls in its Fire tablets. It’s one of the reasons we recommend them so highly as kids’ tablets.
Here we’ll explain how to set up kids profiles, restrict the content they can use and also set time limits for when they can use their tablet.
Also check out our guide to parental controls on the Amazon Echo.
How to set up a child profile on a Fire tablet
If the tablet is brand new, follow the on-screen instructions to set it up and – when prompted – sign in with your Amazon account. You’ll need to do this in order to download apps, even free ones.
Once you’ve completed this process and you’re at the home screen, swipe down from the top of the screen to bring up the menu. Tap ‘Settings’ and then on ‘Profile & Family Library’.
Tap ‘Add a Child Profile’ and then fill in their details: name, date of birth, their profile picture and the background theme.
If you want to prevent them from accessing your main grown-ups profile, which is unrestricted, you need to set a PIN or password. If you didn’t do this during the initial tablet setup, tap on Security in the 'Personal' section of Settings.
Now tap Lock-Screen Passcode to enable it and enter your chosen passcode.
To switch from your profile to your child’s, swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the person icon to the right of the battery symbol. This brings up a list of users: just tap on the child’s name to go to their profile.
How do I set up parental controls on a Fire tablet?
The first thing to do is to go to Settings and tap Parental Controls, which is under the Personal section. You'll find Settings by swiping down from the top of the screen when the tablet is unlocked: look for the cog icon.
Tap on it then tap on Parental Controls. Tap the toggle switch and you’ll be asked to choose a password. Make sure you write this down somewhere since if you forget it, you won’t be able to reset it and the only way to get around it is to completely reset the tablet and start from scratch.
When the password is set, parental controls are turned on and you’ll see new options on the screen.
Near the top is a section titled ‘Restrict Access for this profile’. If you’re not currently signed in as a child, use the instructions above to switch to a kids’ profile.
Then, tap on Amazon Content and Apps and choose what you want to block. Alexa is blocked in a child profile and you cannot enable it: it’s one of the restrictions Amazon thinks is necessary for kids. Currently, the only kids version of Alexa is available on the Echo Dot Kids that's sold only in the US.
Getting back to the matter in hand, under Password protection you can choose to block those things, or changes to those things, by requiring your parental control password.
Make sure ‘Password-protect purchases’ is enabled, as this stops kids from installing apps or buying anything from any stores that you haven’t blocked. Also make sure social sharing is blocked, unless the child is old enough and you’re ok with this.
Limit screen time on a Fire tablet
This is optional, of course, but is a good companion to the restrictions you've already set up.
To limit screen time, tap on Set Restricted Access to enable it which, in case you haven't read everything above, is under Settings > Parental Controls.
Now tap on Restricted Access Schedule. Here you can set one period where the child can use their tablet. Oddly, it’s called Bedtime. This is the only area where the controls are a bit limiting as you might want to set more than one period.
However, you can set different periods for weekdays and weekends.
There’s a Total screen time bar, but you may prefer to use the ‘Time by Activity’ bars (below Total Screen Time) instead as these let you control how much time your child can do different things, such as reading, watching books and accessing the internet (via Amazon’s kid-safe web browser – more on that below).
If you like, you can set ‘educational goals’ and block videos or games until the child has read for a certain amount of time first.
Obviously, if the tablet is shared by two or more children, you’ll need to sign into each profile in turn and set these time and activity limits.
How do I set what content is available?
You can choose what each child can access by going to Settings > Parental Controls > Profiles & Family Library. Alternatively, launch the FreeTime (also called Fire for Kids) app and tap the cog icon to the right of the child’s name.
You’ll see a link to manage each child profile. Tap on one and then on ‘Add content’. You’ll see an advert for Fire for Kids Unlimited, which is Amazon’s subscription service for kid-friendly videos, apps, games and books.
However, you can tap ‘No Thanks’ and continue to selecting the content you’ve downloaded via Amazon’s Appstore.
If you haven’t downloaded anything yet you can switch to the adult profile and go to the various stores (by using the menu across the top of the screen) to install games, apps and books.
Back in the Manage child profile screen, you’ll also see an ‘Enable Web Browser’ option. This is worth doing as it lets kids access Amazon’s hand-curated browser that includes lots of YouTube videos and other interesting websites without being able to view any inappropriate websites.
You can also choose whether or not to allow access to the tablet’s cameras and photo gallery (it’s usually a good idea to do so).
We wouldn’t recommend relying on these settings and filters to guarantee that your child will see only appropriate content: no system is 100 percent perfect and it’s best to supervise what they’re watching, reading and playing. Read our full guide to keeping kids safe online, too.