Now that my son is using our Amazon Kindle, I would like to have some control over what they check out in the online bookstore and, more importantly, would like to turn off their Internet access from the device, but as far as I can tell, there’s no control at all. Is that true? And if so, what the heck is Amazon thinking?
I also have a Kindle DX that I’ve let my son use for reading books. I like that it’s small and that books are inexpensive on the device, without any waste, but when I realized that it also has a Web browser (albeit not a very good one) I figured that was a potential problem but didn’t worry much about it. The Kindle also makes it really easy to buy new books once the device is registered with Amazon.com.
No worries. Until I got a receipt for a purchase of a ebook with an obscenity in the title. Now, I know my son is just having fun with the device and searching the online bookstore for naughty words, but still, it was a bit alarming, and my motivation for figuring out a solution went up a notch.
The first thought I had was to change the configuration to require a password to get to the Internet or the Amazon book store, but as far as I can tell, that’s not possible. D’oh, what the heck?
You can go into the settings and turn off wi-fi, but that’s not going to work because the first thing the device asks if it’s off is this:
Useless in terms of a control mechanism.
After reading quite a bit online, I determined that the best solution to control bookstore purchases is to just deregister the Kindle from the Amazon.com store. To do that, you need to pop into the Manage Your Kindle area on Amazon.com, where you’ll see this sort of summary information:
Click on “Deregister” and it’ll explain that you aren’t supposed to do that unless you’re selling the unit:
I did it anyway, and now when I try to buy something from the Kindle Store, I see this message:
Better than nothing, but still, I’d like to have better parental controls and it’s baffling that Amazon hasn’t stepped up in this situation and created some additional settings and configurations that would let a parent give the device to their children and know that it’s being used to read ebooks, not explore the net or even find the R and X rated material online.