Considering the Amazon Kindle Fire as a lower cost alternative to iPad for kids apps and books? Sure, it seems reasonable. Who wouldn't be drawn to a device at half the price, a pretty, color screen, and access to books, apps, music, TV, movies that the kiddies will love?
But hold your horses. There's one serious problem Amazon has yet to address, and parents should be wary of ... one click purchasing. While you can set the Kindle Fire screen to stay locked unless a password is entered, once you're using content such as a book or app, a few quick clicks get you to the Kindle Store. There, the little user can, without entering a password or username, purchase and download books, comics, apps and music to his or her heart's content while maxing-out your credit card.
Apple faced fallout from parents over the single-click purchase function and remedied the problem by requiring a password to buy content. Still, some app developers lure kids into buying more content for seemingly "free" games. And though Kindle Fire has been criticized for less-than-stellar navigation and lack of accessible volume controls, there's been little concern over the absence of parental controls.
Amazon yesterday pledged an update to the interface, but gave no specifics on whether the password issue would be addressed. Parents' best bet is either to monitor kids carefully when they're using the Kindle Fire, or wait until the software update becomes available.
Currently, the selection of books and apps for younger kids is pretty slim on the Kindle Store anyway. It’s still a great device for books and movies for teens and grown ups, however, so give it to them, instead.