Parental Controls on Your Fire Tablet - dummies

Parental Controls on Your Fire Tablet

By Nancy C. Muir

Parental Controls on your Fire tablet allow you to make settings to block or unblock or password-protect certain kinds of content and features. When you turn on the Parental Controls setting, you’re first presented with the fields for entering and confirming a password. When you’ve entered your password, tap Finish.

Note that once you have created this password, whenever you go into Parental Controls and enter that password, you tap Submit to proceed.

When you create a child’s profile or turn on Parental Controls, you are then required to enter a password every time you want to open your tablet from the Lock screen.

In the following screen, you can access children’s profiles. Beneath that setting, you tap to turn Parental Controls on or off. With it on, you see settings to block or unblock the Web Browser; Email, Contacts, and Calendars; Social Sharing; Camera; Amazon Maps; Firefly; and Amazon Stores.

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For example, if you don’t want your child to use email or take photos yet, block them. As your child gets older, you can unblock and give access to more apps and features.

You can also tap to password-protect purchases or video playback. Why you’d want to avoid allowing your child to buy what she likes from Amazon is probably obvious. Password-protecting video protects your kids from undesirable video content, and saves your tablet’s battery life from the drain of constantly streaming video.

If you want to allow or block certain types of content such as books or photos, tap Block and Unblock Content Types. On the list of content types that appears, tap to block content such as Music or Audiobooks.

Back in the Parental Controls screen, the final settings concern the password for your device. Tap Change Password to go to another screen, where you can create a new password you use to open your tablet from the Lock screen, or use the Off/On switches in the next three settings to password-protect the following:

  • Wi-Fi. If you block your child from using Wi-Fi, she won’t be able to use any content stored in Amazon Cloud Drive or use the Silk web browser. Your child is pretty much limited to content and apps you’ve downloaded to the device.

  • Location-Based Services. If you block this feature, it limits the usefulness of apps, such as Weather or Maps, that rely on being able to identify your location to provide accurate information. However, the upside is that other people your child encounters online can’t use location-based services in places such as Facebook to spot where your child is.

    Some use it for the purposes of ID theft (because they know both a name and town where the child lives) or to make unwelcome offline contact.

  • Mayday. This live Help feature is great for getting support for your Fire tablet. However, the helpful folks at Amazon probably don’t want your 4-year-old constantly tapping Mayday (only available on the 8.9-inch model of Fire) to chat with a person about non-Fire–related stuff. If your child has discovered Mayday and become addicted to it, you can block his access to the feature here.

If you turn on location-based services, you’re sharing very private information about your whereabouts. If you’re concerned about what apps have access to your location, check out those apps in the Amazon Appstore to see whether the permissions listed on their details pages mention use of location information.