Concerns over Amazon’s new kid monitors: Help for parents or ‘privacy invading gimmick?’

If Democrats and former U.S. presidents can spy for political reasons, surely there’s a tool for parents to track their children’s activity online.

Amazon is now introducing the tools, stepping in to help parents with parenting.

The company’s Fire tablets now offer parents a set of tools through their FreeTime service, designed to allow a pre-approval of the amount of time kids spend on the tablet as well as what they are allowed to do, according to The Associated Press.

The new tool on the tablet dashboard is free as is the service from Amazon.

As their children explore the internet and read books, play games or watch videos, parents will have access to the data collected by Amazon on their website.

That sounds safe, doesn’t it?

According to AP:

Information will include the amount of time spent on e-books, videos, apps and web browsing. Parents will also see 90 days’ worth of details such as the specific books read and videos watched — and how long the child spent on each.

The service will also suggest some questions and activities, with open-ended questions designed to avoid classic single-word responses from kids. For the book “Captain Awesome vs. Nacho Cheese Man,” for instance, suggested discussion topics include questioning assumptions and assessing the role incorrect assumptions have on friendships.

How thoughtful of Amazon to suggest discussion topics for parents who need to know how to communicate with their kids about the books they are reading.

A close read of the fine print may offer some insight into how secure the data is that is collected and what the e-commerce giant does with it during its 90 days on the website. That is assuming the data is deleted after that time period.

An unlimited version of the dashboard tool is available for a $3-and-up monthly subscription, offering access to material that Amazon “deems appropriate” for different-aged children.

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