Amazon has announced a new service that will open up its gargantuan ecommerce platform to millions more teenagers.
As things stand, shoppers must be 18 years of age or over to buy goods through Amazon, but moving forward the internet giant will allow 13 to 17-year-olds to get their own login credentials that are associated with their parents’ Amazon account.
To get the ball rolling, parents must enter their kids’ contact information, and indicate which of their payment cards is to be used for purchases. The kid then receives an invite and they choose their own username and password.
But fret not, kids aren’t given carte blanche to buy what they want — parents are able to decide on an approval process. Indeed, parents can elect to receive a text or email that shows the cost of an item and shipping address, while the kid can add a personalized plea to win approval, such as: “I need this new shirt for church.”
Reflecting how kids use the internet these days, the new shopping system only works through the Amazon mobile app. And more trusting parents can elect to sidestep the per-item approval process and simply set an overall maximum budget.
Notably, kids can also access their parents’ Prime membership at no extra cost as part of this setup.
This all feeds into Amazon’s grand plan to get everyone sucked into the Amazon ecosystem. Earlier today, the company announced a new monthly payment option for Prime Student subscriptions, while a few months back it introduced a 50 percent Prime discount for people on government assistance programs.
In many ways it’s surprising that the company has taken this long to open up Amazon to kids. But this new feature will likely garner groans from millions of parents — they now have one less excuse to prevent their kids from doing their own shopping online.
It also feeds into a growing pattern we’re seeing across the digital realm, where kids who have grown up with the internet in their lives are seeking more autonomy over their online activities — without parents giving away complete control to their offspring. Just a few weeks back, Google officially launched its Family Link app to enable U.S. parents to control their kids’ devices remotely. While kids do have a degree of control over their phone or tablet usage, parents ultimately have the final say. And that is exactly what Amazon is doing by partially opening its ecommerce inventory to teens.