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Amazon Improves Fire Tablet Parental Controls

Amazon is making its already family friendly tablets even more perfect for kids and parents. Fire HD 10, Fire HD 8 and Fire tablets are getting an over-the-air software update, starting today and over the next couple of weeks. It includes a new kid-friendly browser, an activity center for parents and a night mode for reading.

The new browser will allow access to more than 40,000 curated, age-appropriate YouTube videos and websites. Parents will have to turn the browser on, but there is no other setup involved, unless parents want to add their own sites to the approved list. The sites and videos are selected based on the opinion of "Amazon experts" who worked with Common Sense Media.

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Amazon's also adding what it calls an Activity Center to the FreeTime unlimited controls, which is a more detailed look at the same information it has always offered. Once turned on, parents get a customized page to review how much time the kids spend playing games, watching videos and reading. In addition, parents can see what websites, apps, books or videos the kids accessed. This information can be accessed from a tablet, smartphone or computer.

The company is also rolling out a new, Blue Shade mode which should make it easier for adults to read on the tablet at night. According to Amazon, viewing blue light at nighttime may suppress melatonin production, which can keep you up. The Blue Shade feature limits exposure to blue light, or offers warm color filters so you can stay up and read. You can customize the color settings based on preference.