Amazon Kids on Alexa available to New Zealand Echo users this week

Amazon Kids on Alexa available to New Zealand Echo users from September 22.
Photo credit: supplied/Amazon

A new service available for families with Amazon Echo devices in Aotearoa offers parents extra control and monitoring of how their children use Alexa-controlled smart devices.

Amazon Kids on Alexa also promises plenty of new content for the kids produced with the intention of helping them learn, play and grow while being entertained, the company said.

It adds to a growing number of tools on offer from companies like Apple and Google designed to make young ones safer despite being more exposed to the internet and smart technology.

Targeted at children aged 12 and under, the content includes sing-alongs with Amazon Music, games, jokes, stories and more.

Some of it has been made by Amazon's Australia/New Zealand team, including a special Aussie version of 'Old MacDonald Had a Farm' and The Stolen Stars of Matariki, a bilingual (English and te reo Māori) story with voice recordings, sound effects, music and illustrations.

Asking Alexa who her favourite rugby team is will give a different result depending on where she's asked, too - you should indeed hear "All Blacks" if you ask in Aotearoa.

Amazon Kids on Alexa is being made available in New Zealand and Australia this week after having already been offered in several other countries. Amazon says "20 million kids and parents around the world" currently use it.

Amazon's Parents Dashboard.
Photo credit: supplied/Amazon

Using the Parent Dashboard tool, parents can set time limits on how much their children use Alexa, block access to adult content like explicit music, add or restrict access to services and monitor what is being said to Alexa.

Of course, privacy is a serious concern with any smart device or indeed any exposure to the internet that children experience.

Kate Gooden - Head of Product, Amazon Alexa ANZ - told Newshub there are extra layers of protection for kids. Parents can opt to not have their children's voice commands recorded at all, if they wish.

However, if they do want to be able to access those voice recordings to review how their children are using Alexa, they can specify how long the recordings are held before being deleted. They're held in the cloud rather than on-device, but are said to be encrypted so nobody can listen to them aside from the parents - not even Amazon itself.

Amazon Kids on Alexa will be available for New Zealand customers to enable via the latest version of the Alexa app on compatible Echo devices through a software update on Thursday, September 22.