Amazon Innovations

Amazon Expands Alexa Skills To Include Kid Skills

Amazon wants everyone to use Alexa, including children and it has launched new skills in the U.S. targeted at America’s youngest consumers.

In a blog post, Jeff Blankenburg, an Alexa evangelist at Amazon announced Thursday (Aug. 31) that companies and developers can now publish entertainment and educational skills for children under the age of 13. Some of the kid skills that are available right off the bat include The SpongeBob Challenge from Nickelodeon, Sesame Street from Sesame Workshop, and Amazon Storytime. There are a bunch of other games such as The Tickle Monster Game!, Animal Sounds, Animal sounds quiz, Old Macdonald, Silly Things and Zoo Walk, Blankenburg said in the blog. In addition, he said hundreds of developers have expressed interest in creating new kid skills, with that number expected to grow rapidly.

In order to protect children, Amazon has set up the service in a way that when a customer asks for Alexa to enable a kid skills for the first time, Alexa will ask for permission in the mobile app. Parents will need to verify they are who they say they are using a one-time text code sent to the mobile phone number in their Amazon account. The other option is to enter the security code of the credit card that is tied to their Amazon account. Verification for the same Kid skill is not required after the initial consent is given. Parents will also be able to view and block permissions for their Amazon.com account.

For developers Amazon also provided tips on how to make kids skills that will become popular. In the blog post Blankenburg said: “Ask yourself some key questions, and think like a kid. What will a kid expect my skill to do? What about the skill is important to a kid? How would a kid respond? Will they need some help with what they can say? Your skill should be built for your audience, and should interact with them in the way they expect. Keep the options and interactions clear and simple.”

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