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Amazon launches new Alexa device for kids but privacy issues will still scare some parents

Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition is meant to be more colorful, easy to use and age appropriate.

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Amazon has a new Alexa speaker, the Echo Dot Kids Edition.

Amazon

Amazon updated its Echo Dot speaker back in 2018, so it's no surprise that the tech company decided to revamp its original Echo Dot Kids Edition with a next-gen device as well. 

At a glance, Amazon clearly drew inspiration from the third-generation Echo Dot, which has a more rounded shape, complete with mesh fabric and a few color options. The new Echo Dot Kids Edition costs $70 (Amazon says it will be on sale for $50 for "a limited time") and comes in rainbow (pictured above) and "frost blue" color finishes. 

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Amazon says the new Echo Dot Kids Edition is "70% louder" than the first-gen version and includes a year of FreeTime Unlimited. FreeTime Unlimited is a subscription service that offers Alexa features just for kids -- and provides controls for parents, as well as a variety of non-Echo features on Fire tablets and other devices for children.

Examples of Alexa skills only available via FreeTime Unlimited include Disney Dance Floor by Disney Publishing, Baby Shark Adventures by Pinkfong and Ghostbusters by Sony.

New FreeTime Unlimited Alexa features include news reports via National Geographic and News-o-Matic with the command, "Alexa, what's my news?" 

Alexa Skill Blueprints is also new. With Blueprints, parents and kids can "build an interactive adventure story" from an existing template and more.

The FreeTime Unlimited parental controls service will cost Amazon Prime customers $3 per month. Without Prime, the service costs $5 per month. 

But what about your kid's privacy? Amazon has recently come under fire following reports that the company holds on to transcripts of your Alexa conversations, even after you've deleted the audio clip. Amazon has since introduced new features, such as the  "Alexa, delete everything I said today" command. 

Child advocacy groups also have issues with the first-generation Echo Dot Kids Edition, according to a report in May claiming that the speaker violates privacy laws, prompting a request for an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. 

Amazon recently introduced the Echo Show 5 as well, which is scheduled for a June 26 release. The Echo Show 5 is a smaller smart display with a 5.5-inch screen and a built-in privacy screen. It doesn't have kid-specific features, but you might want to get a full sense of what's on the horizon for Echo devices before you buy. Read more about Alexa privacy.

The new Echo Dot Kids Edition is available for preorder now and is expected to ship later this month. 

Read more: Which Amazon Echo speaker should you buy?

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