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Parental Controls for the Kindle Fire

Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 1:46 PM

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The Kindle e-reader has been wildly popular.  Now, there is much demand for the Kindle Fire.  The Kindle Fire, which uses the Android Operating System and was built by Amazon.com, recently went on sale and sold multi-millions of units.  This device is useful and very popular, and rightly so. It's a robust Android tablet with e-reader capabilities that sells for $199. The Kindle Fire is a competitor to the iPad.

The Kindle Fire has been criticized for its lack of parental controls. (PCWorld, "Amazon Kindle Fire Criticized for Lack of Parental Controls," Dec. 2011.)

Parents worry about keeping tabs on their kids web surfing and usage on the Kindle Fire. Well, there are some limited parental controls options right out of the box.  None of them give you the ability to filter Internet content; however, Net Nanny for Android will soon solve that challenge. Net Nanny for Android will work on the Kindle Fire and is available on January 31, 2012.

In the meantime, if you own a Kindle Fire, you can control the following settings:

  1. Restrict the ability to purchase (without a password or pin).
  2. Restrict the ability to remove, download or install anything (without a password or pin).
  3. Restrict certain installed apps from launching (without a password or pin).
  4. Restrict ability to change device-wide settings (without a password or pin).

Here are a few step-by-step instructions:

Set a password (so only authorized users have access to the device):

  1. From the Home screen, tap the Quick Settings icon (upper right corner, looks like a mechanical gear).
  2. Tap the More icon, then Security.
  3. Slide the switch next to Lock Screen Password to On. You'll be prompted to set your password.

The ability to install applications from unknown sources is turned off by default. That's a good idea.  However, to disable:

  1. From the Home screen, tap the Quick Settings icon (upper right corner, looks like a mechanical gear).
  2. Tap the More icon, then Device.
  3. Slide the switch next to Allow Installation of Applications (from Unknown Sources) to On.

To control access to Wi-Fi or Wireless networks:

  1. From the Home screen, tap the Quick Settings icon (upper right corner, looks like a mechanical gear).
  2. Tap the More icon, then Restrictions.
  3. Slide the switch next to Enable Restrictions to On. You'll be prompted to set your password.
  4. Now you can enable or disable Wi-Fi access or the Wireless network being used.

When software updates are ready, which will include additional functionality, the Kindle Fire will update automatically. You can check for software updates by visiting http://www.amazon.com/kindlesoftwareupdates

Enjoy!


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