I have been heavily vested in the Kindle Fire in recent weeks and am even gave away 2 Kindle Fire gadgets in a contest that is ended last week. But in learning and experimenting with the Kindle Fire I came up with the best way to give it as Christmas presents to my two kids who are 8 and 4 years old.
The Kindle Fire had a few limitations that made it less than ideal for little kids, 1 is that it required a credit card tied to “One Click Purchase” to the Amazon account the Kindle Fire was registered too. You needed this credit card setup even to download and install free Android apps for the Kindle Fire.
The second is that you can’t put password protection on purchasing apps from the App store on a Kindle Fire, this would have potentially allowed my 5 year old who can only read a little from randomly installing apps and charging my card for them. He does this with the iTunes app store now and constantly tries to download free games but doesn’t always notice the price tag next to some other games.
So I found a good solution at least one that works that will allow you to setup your Kindle Fire for your kids without worrying about your card being charged to infinity.
Here are the steps:
Setup a separate Amazon.com Account for Kindle Fire
If you use the Kindle Fire or you have more than one Kindle Fire, you will want to make sure your child has a separate Amazon account for their Kindle Fire. This way you can assign a default one click payment option without affecting your normal 1 click and Amazon prime accounts.
If you only have 1 Kindle Fire or have Amazon Prime tied to your account only and want to keep it that way, then you can just set your default 1-click payment for the Kindle Fire to what is explained in Step 2.
Setup a Dummy Credit Card as your 1 Click Payment Method
I was researching on how to do this, when I found that PayPal gives you a list of “test credit card numbers” I figured why not test out one of these as a One Click Payment method and see if it allows you to download free apps and games. Sure enough it works fine.
Setup a new 1 Click Payment Method and use Visa Card #4111111111111111 as your Visa Card.
Set up the expiration date as any future date.
Add your real address and shipping information on the next screen.
Voila, you now have a dummy card setup with your Amazon Kindle 1 Click Payment system. Now, any real purchase will get instantly rejected, but this allows you to download all the free apps and games you want and you don’t have to worry about your kids charging your real account.
I used the Amazon Cloud Drive to upload mp3 files to my son’s Amazon Music Cloud and have them sync to his Kindle Fire device, I even created a playlist and had a certain amount of songs sync locally on device so he could listen to them when not on the Wi-Fi.
Being that I have 3 Kindle Fire devices in my family, this was 3 separate Amazon accounts to manage and Cloud Drives but it was simple. I just created 3 separate folders on my PC for each Kindle Fire music I wanted to sync and just keep those folders updated with the equivalent Cloud Drive.
Remember when giving the Kindle Fire as a gift that it is a Wi-Fi only device, and you will want to make sure your kids remember to sync any games, music or media locally to the device memory before leaving the Wi-Fi network. Even though the Amazon Kindle Fire is 8GB, there is only about 6.2GB of free space when it arrives, so this should be plenty enough room for enough games/apps and media to last for a few hours without a Wi-Fi connection but it will need to be re-synced and switched around between long trips. Worst case scenario get a Mobile Hotspot connection for your phone and use your Kindle Fire through your Mobile Hotspot!
Kindle Fire Default Applications
The Kindle Fire currently doesn’t support removing the default applications, I couldn’t find a way to remove Facebook, the Amazon Store…etc from the Kindle Fire, so all I can say is if you have younger kids you need to teach them not to use those apps. Don’t have accounts setup and they really shouldn’t be able to sign up for one anyway. As with any gadget device you need to monitor your kids usage and occasionally keep tabs on what they are using it for. There is a web browser on the Kindle Fire and you should be aware of what your kids are doing and browsing.
I will be hosting a new Kindle Fire Giveaway soon, stay tuned.
Thanks to one of my readers, I was informed about the Kids Place with Child Lock app for Android. This app works for the Kindle Fire and when you run the app you specify what is allowed to be accessed. It blocks access to everything else unless a PIN code is entered. It does a good job while the Kindle Fire is running and is good if you pass the Kindle Fire to younger kids to play with for short periods of time. Rebooting the Kindle Fire bypasses the Kids Place app however, so it can be easily thwarted if your kids have their own Kindle Fire, the other issue is that for some reason on the Kindle Fire it has an ugly orange background instead of the elegant one seen in the pic here:
The Kids Place – With Child Lock app is still worth considering if you intend to let kids younger than 5 use your Kindle Fire to play some games or use some drawing apps, and it allows you peace of mind they can only access the handful of apps you setup for them (as long as they don’t power off and on the Kindle Fire).