The Case for Kindle Parental Controls, free kindle horror book

First, for your Kindle or Kindle App, a free kindle book -

  1. Serial by Jack Kilborn and Blake Crouch. Price: $0. Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Horror. Lots of good reviews and lots of bad reviews.

    Remember the twin golden rules of hitchhiking?

    # 1: Don’t go hitchhiking, because the driver who picks you up could be certifiably crazy.
    # 2: Don’t pick up hitchhikers, because the traveler you pick up could be raving nutcase.

    So what if, on some dark, isolated road, Crazy #1 offered a ride to Nutcase #2?

    When two of the most twisted minds in the world of horror fiction face off, the result is SERIAL, a terrifying tale of hitchhiking gone terribly wrong.

Have to say – If the book is written as well as the product description there’s no way a single 1 star review is warranted.

Next, let’s make a case for Kindle Parental Controls.

Kindle Parental Controls – Making Kindle for Kids a reality

There are quite a few reasons that it’s currently not very safe to give kids unrestricted access to a Kindle – they might buy that $6,713 nuclear physics book, they might find an erotic romance novel, they might read a horror novel that traumatizes them for life, they might discover the browser and end up at terrible sites.

Here are some of the solutions currently suggested and the associated problems in italics -

  1. De-regiter your credit card. Problem is lots of erotica titles are still free and there’s Internet access.  
  2. De-register from the Kindle account. You still have Internet access via WiFi on Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi.  
  3. Turn off WiFi access at home or blacklist your kid’s Kindle so it can’t connect. Schools and Starbucks and lots of other places have WiFi.
  4. Buy a separate Kindle and monitor it. It’s still on a shared account and books can be downloaded from the archive and later deleted. Browsing history can be deleted too. Monitoring takes time.  

You know what – the common issue here is that these are all inconvenient and inelegant hacks.

It’s making customers put in a lot of time and effort instead of saving customers time and effort. There should be a one-button solution – turn off Kindle Store purchase with one button, turn off browser with one button, turn off downloading of books with one button.

Better still – create a Kid Mode where only Internet sites and books that are safe for kids are accessible.

Here’s the comment from ‘concerned parents’ that got me thinking about this -

Christmas shopping has begun for our large blended family ages 7-18, and we dont want our kids accessing the internet without our knowledge, or reading content we deem inappropriate for young minds.

All our children love to read, and we have considered the Kindle, Nook, and Reader… but none seem to have parental controls. Too bad. Maybe next year, once they are implemented, our money will be spent on eReaders! Until then, not a chance.

Coincidentally, there’s a complicated discussion on Kindle Parental Controls going on at the official Kindle forum.

One of the interesting suggestions is a ‘safe for kids’ rating -

 I would like there to be parental controls for the Kindle – preferably on the reader controlling content downloaded rather than on the account so the account can be shared by children of different ages, to be controlled so that only items that receive a specific parental rating code can be downloaded.

I would like the authors of Kindle manuscripts to (at their discretion) submit their literature to receive a rating code.

This issue is probably going to be misunderstood – All we mean when we say parental controls is a way to give kids a Kindle that doesn’t have access to the Internet and doesn’t allow unrestricted buying. Parental controls that let you give your kid a Kindle and then not have to constantly monitor it and worry about it. It would also be entirely opt-in so if you don’t have kids or don’t want parental controls you’d never even know it was there.

3 Responses

  1. The very thing that they advertise, sharing books between Kindles on the same account, removes all parental control.

    I wanted to share books with my teen-aged daughter but there was no way to filter my archived books, she would have access to any of them.

    We ended up having her create her own account instead but that means I can’t share with her.

    There are definitely free books at Amazon that are so beyond what’s decent that no child should have access to them. Frankly, I wish they could be rated for erotic content so that I can avoid them too.

    They should use something like the All Romance site does where they rate by flame – one flame is mild, 5 flames is the hottest. They also label books with what kind of erotica – gay, multiple partners, etc.

  2. Honestly, if you walk into a bookstore, a kid can find a lot of sexually explicit novels and such and have no problem buying them.

    Lots of Piers Anthony’s stuff for instance (a lot of it dealing with children, too). (Except the Xanth stuff, but that is still pretty creepy in areas).

    Lots of trashy horror novels also have them (not usually with kids though, that’s mostly just Piers Anthony that does that). Jackie Collins.

    Once you start rating books for things like sex, next will be violence. And that’s just a step on the process to even more censorship.

    • Rating books for things like sex and violence isn’t a step toward censorship, it’s a way of informing your potential audiences of what they are about to experience. Much like a movie rating system, the rating doesn’t keep the movie from being shown, it just gives the public a bit of knowledge before being subjected to the content so that those who might object to excessive sex, violence, etc. can avoid it. Those who want to view such things are still welcome partake.

      These eReaders would be a much more viable family library if there wasn’t such a concern about children having direct access to lots and lots of inappropriate content.

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