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Amazon adds blue-light filter to Fire tablets for improved nighttime reading

The update also adds new tools to better help parents manage what kids can and can't do on Fire tablets.

James Martin/CNET

Amazon on Wednesday announced an update to its line of Fire tablets that adds new features for both late-night readers and parents with young children. The over-the-air update will begin rolling out today for the company's Fire HD 10, Fire HD 8 and Fire tablets.

Studies have suggested that blue light from tablets and smartphones can prolong the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. To make reading more enjoyable at night for Fire tablet owners, Amazon is introducing Blue Shade. The new feature can adjust the tablet's display to reduce blue light exposure. It also lets users add warm color filters to the display lower the brightness to a new ultra-low level that Amazon claims is still comfortable for night-time reading.

The Blue Shade feature can be turned on or off in the quick-settings menu. Here customers can also customize color settings to fit their personal needs. While the Blue Shade feature is exclusive to Amazon, there are apps and screen protectors that provide a similar function for iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac and Windows users.

Meanwhile, parents with young children will appreciate a new set of tools that will help them better monitor how their kids are spending time on their tablet. The new Activity Center is designed for parents with kids who have outgrown Amazon FreeTime, the company's control center for parents with young children.

The new feature lets parents use a smartphone, tablet or computer to view how much time their kids spend playing games, watching videos and reading on a Fire tablet. Parents can also view browser history directly in the Activity Center and see which apps, books or videos their kids have accessed.

Lastly, Amazon has also introduced a new kid-friendly Web browser that provides kids with controlled access to more than 40,000 hand-curated and age-appropriate YouTube videos and websites. All websites and videos are reviewed by Amazon staff, but parents have the option to add additional sites if they choose to.

The new Web browser is available in Amazon FreeTime on Fire tablets, including Fire Kids Edition.