Amazon’s announced a new feature that will turn Alexa into a reading companion for children, as well as new support for Alexa Voice Profiles for Kids, which personalize the child’s Alexa experience across all Echo devices in the household. The two features go hand in hand, as the Voice Profile allows Alexa to identify who’s speaking, so the device can appropriately respond to a request like “Alexa, let’s read.” Alexa will then start the reading companion experience, which Amazon’s is calling Reading Sidekick.
This Reading Sidekick feature isn’t available to all Alexa device owners, as it requires an Amazon’s Kids+ subscription. This is the $2.99 per month subscription service that also provides families with children access to thousands of kid-friendly books, TV shows, movies, educational apps, and games. In addition to premium content for Echo devices, like ad-free radio stations and playlists, Audible books, and exclusive Alexa skills.
Meanwhile, support for new Alexa Voice Profiles for Kids will also begin rolling out starting today. This opt-in feature allows parents or guardians to create a voice profile for each child in their family. When enabled, the Alexa experience will be personalized to the individual speaking. That means Alexa will automatically apply the appropriate parental controls that have been configured, automatically filter explicit music, limit calls and messages sent through Alexa only to approved contacts, and restrict the child only to the Alexa skills parents have pre-approved. Alexa will also provide the child with access to kid-friendly games, skills, music, and videos and will provide kid-friendly responses to kids’ inquiries.