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Summary:

While the Kindle Fire has its share of hardware and software shortcomings, a bigger concern is emerging for parents who are thinking of buying the Kindle Fire: it has almost no restrictions to prevent children from accessing inappropriate content or buying whatever they like.

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Critics have called out the Kindle Fire for some of its hardware and software shortcomings, which is not unexpected for a new device but hasn’t seemed to slow sales. But a bigger concern is emerging for parents who are thinking of buying the Kindle Fire: it has almost no restrictions to prevent children from accessing inappropriate content or buy whatever they like on the device.

Caryn Talty, a blogger with HealthyFamily.org, wrote about how she was able to access R-rated content on Amazon Prime Instant Videos, which is free for a limited time to new Kindle customers. She also noted that with one-click buying, which comes as the default option on the Kindle, users are not prompted to give a password with each purchase.

“I wish Amazon would install parental controls for their devices so that movies which are rated “R” can be blocked on the Kindle Fire as easily as they can on AT&T Uverse. We need to protect our kids from inappropriate materials online, and this includes electronic readers as well. Amazon should give Kindle Fire owners the option to install a 4-digit pin for content not appropriate for kids,” Talty wrote.

It’s not just movies: The Amazon Silk browser also has no controls for access, so parents can’t disable it for children. In fact, all of the magazines, books and comic books can be purchased with one click. There is a screen lock for the device with a password but almost everything is accessible once inside.

Amazon told Reuters earlier this week that it does provide controls for in-app purchases. But it’s still working on adding additional safety features. The company said it hasn’t had a problem with the way it sends devices pre-registered for one-click purchases.

“Customers tell us they love that Kindle Fire arrives registered to their account and ready to go,” Amazon told Reuters. “Those who prefer to have their Kindle Fire arrive unregistered can select ‘gift’ during the checkout.”

Apple has long had controls that allow parents to restrict access to iTunes, the App Store, Safari and YouTube. And it installed new controls on in-app purchases after parents and some legislators complained about the ease with which children were making app purchases and buying items inside apps. Barnes & Noblealso requires users to confirm a purchase on Nook devices.

Some of the problem is that Amazon is still on its first version of the Kindle Fire and it needs to patch up some rough spots on the device. But it also comes down to the central philosophy of the Kindle Fire, which is basically a big store front for Amazon. Amazon expects to sell a lot of goods through the Fire and as we’ve seen already with the iPad, tablets making very good shopping devices. That’s likely why Amazon is able to offer the device at such a low price with no profit, because it can make up for it on other transactions. Amazon’s trademark one-click checkout is part of the appeal for many consumers and it’s made some of my purchases easier on the Fire. But I’ve also caught myself a little worried that it’s actually too easy to buy something on the Fire. That can be bad for parents with children or people with bad impulse control.

I think Amazon needs to come up with more controls quickly. It may not be an issue with most consumers, but at the price the company is pitching it at, the Kindle Fire has a chance to be the first tablet in a lot of homes. Consumers want to feel safe handing their children a Kindle just as much as an iPod Touch. But it needs to come with more safeguards. I’m sure Amazon is working on this, but it would have been better to ship with those controls in place to show that it cares not just about selling but also respecting the different needs of its users.

Amazon is still going to sell a boatload of content legitimately on the Fire, but it doesn’t need to invite an uproar when parents find their children doing far more with their new tablet than they’d like.

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  26. gigaom: Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/NqQ8RW1q

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  31. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/QZV9xX8A via Ryan Kim

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  37. RT @gigaom: Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/Q7Ut85Dp

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  38. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/WypsWC2R

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  39. I agree that Amazon does need to step up and add some additional functionality into the Kindle Fire to address some of these concerns. That said, there are things you can do today, as I describe here:

    http://phoneboy.com/3428/my-review-of-the-amazon-kindle-fire

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  40. [344] Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns
    http://t.co/rjSVIPYl

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  41. Buying a #KindleFire for your kids? RT @gigaom Lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/l0O8ASpd #tablet #parenting

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  49. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns: 9, 2011, 4:16pm PT No Comments Critics have called out … http://t.co/JHSe6R1d

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  51. RT @gigaom: Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/AnoniUJY

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  61. RT @gigaom: Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/AnoniUJY

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  64. Want to get a Kindle Fire for your kids? Just remember, there are hardly any parental controls settings for you to… http://t.co/xpZScdNn

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  65. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/gOmXH9CB

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  68. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns: 9, 2011, 4:16pm PT No Comments Critics have called out … http://t.co/rujTCSno

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  71. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns — Tech News … http://t.co/azs0NlFv /via @lukegregory

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  72. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns – http://t.co/E2VjfRaa – [Oops!] #amazon #kindle

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  73. I like my kindle fire, but the lack of parental controls is a BIG issue. Gigaom has a good story about this: http://t.co/lro8Otdp

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  74. RT @gigaom: Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/AnoniUJY

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  75. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/TJCyd14L via @zite

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  76. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns — Tech News …: While the Kindle Fire has its share of … http://t.co/llyj8DyZ

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  77. There are a few good software solutions out there that really lock down the Fire, preventing kids from charging and getting into areas they shouldn’t (making phone calls, surfing the web etc). The best one is probably Kids Place and I know there are at least a couple others.

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  78. RT @gigaom: Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/RgGRZYbj

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  79. RT @gigaom: Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/4IhRnR4r

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  80. RT @RingierStudios: Buying a #KindleFire for your kids? RT @gigaom Lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/l0O8ASpd #tablet #parenting

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  81. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/BCpRq8fn via @zite

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  82. It seems like Amazon may have rushed things in releasing the Kindle Fire. Some reports say they are losing money on each unit sold and now parental control issues, yikes.
    http://www.charisbusiness.com/KindleFire

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  83. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns: Critics have called out the Kindle Fire for some of its… http://t.co/DlYl6N7L

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  84. Great post.

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  86. GigaOM: Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/8WI3fsua

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  87. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/4b9TpDjG /via @lukegregory

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  88. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns: In fact, all of the magazines, books and comic books ca… http://t.co/R7Mrgzzp

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  89. Not surprised; Amazon lacks parent/child accounts, too “Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns” http://t.co/kfS73Gou

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  90. Racing to release causes things like this: RT @gigaom: Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/9xgdL9s7

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  93. Did you know: Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/ig9rn3Uo

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  94. RT @gigaom: Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/wAjYVvcf < kids don’t use tablets do they, do they? #oops

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  100. Reading this bit on the lack of parental controls in the @kindle Fire: http://t.co/D3cwaa4V #edtech

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  101. RT @gigaom: #Kindle #Fire’s lack of #parental #controls raises #concerns http://t.co/JammxOOy <#parenting

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  102. #Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns — Tech News and Analysis – http://t.co/ox9S8fnB

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  103. RT @AniseSmith: #Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns — Tech News and Analysis – http://t.co/ox9S8fnB

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  104. Indeed// GigaOM: Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/j6l5u80y

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  105. As I recall, that feature used to be called parenting. It used to be stock when you downloaded a kid, but I guess now people are expected to purchase an app for that.

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    1. So do you plan to place your child on your lap whenever they use your/their kindle?

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    2. I’m with Carrie – there’s no way you can absolutely control every second of your kids online time so parental control features are expected in today’s market. I actually call it parenting if you’re looking for these types of tools to help out in this increasingly connected world.

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  106. De PR van Apple is geniaal. Ge.ni.aal. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/gaF5lSD2

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  107. You can’t just install an app for android that will let you do this ? Or to use the openDNS who does this for you ?

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  108. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/JpZ0djpj

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  109. RT @gigaom: Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/AnoniUJY

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  110. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/tOS0spAD

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  111. Why we won’t be getting one: Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/Bd75ZKct

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  112. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/5Woiu1ES

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  113. Mosaic Technology Monday, December 12, 2011

    As you stated, for the majority of users, parental controls are probably not an issue. However, the iPad has become increasingly marketed towards families and if Amazon wants the Kindle Fire to compete with the iPad, it’s going to need to become more family-friendly as well. Thanks for the post; this is definitely some food for thought.

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  114. What happens when a kid’s desire to buy is as easy as one click? Kindle Fire’s lack of parent controls raises concerns http://t.co/jgwqosLx

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  115. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/mV5geIy2

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  116. When a kid’s desire to buy is as easy as 1 click – Kindle Fire’s lack of parent controls concerning http://t.co/SJosyA0Y via @LisaGuernsey

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  117. MT @LisaGuernsey: What happens when kid’s desire 2buy is 1click away? Kindle Fire’s lack of parent controls… http://t.co/9ucb6Ogr #FIAumd

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  118. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/GUMUdYwD

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  119. RT @GetConnectedNow: Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/GUMUdYwD

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  120. This parent was a bit upset when I realized the Kindle did not have Parental Controls. Of most concern was inappropriate content my children might see by using the built in silk web browser. I spent quite a few hours working to find a workaround solution and discovered OPENDNS.COM I followed the well documented instructions for configuring on my router and that should have been the end of this story. Unfortunately, while every computer in our household reverted to using the DNS servers of OPENDNS the Kindle fought back! I don’t pretend to know the technicalities of why this works (hopefully someone can explain) but by disabling a feature called “Accelerate page loading” I was able to get the Kindle Fire to use my network configured OpenDNS servers. I believe when this feature is enabled (as it is by default) the device leverages Amazon’s DNS instead which would allow my children to access all kinds of inappropriate adult sites.

    To disable the Accelerate Page Leading figure, just open up the browser, hit the menu button at the bottom of the screen, hit the Settings button, and then look for this open under Advanced section and uncheck it.

    I hope this works for you as it did for me. Hopefully, a more elegant and secure solution will be designed by Amazon for a future wireless update. I tried configuring my router to block Amazon’s DNS and had heard it was using TCP/UDP port 53 but this didn’t seem to work for me.

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  121. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/DuLjinHE tablets need to support multiple user accounts!

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  122. Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/HGxMaV2l

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  123. RT @nilupak: [Gigaom] Kindle Fire’s lack of parental controls raises concerns http://t.co/USePKQxV

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