Get lost mom and dad! Amazon lets teens shop on their own

Ben Fox Rubin  CNET

Ben Fox Rubin CNET

Today, Amazon unveiled their all-new "teen accounts" feature, allowing kids aged 13-17 to browse, purchase and stream Amazon products and content using their own private account. 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".

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) already offers a steep discount for its Prime service for college students, but the e-commerce giant just made its trademark free shipping and video streaming service even more accessible.

The system works by giving teens their own login and password to use with Amazon.

The new service, available using Amazon's app, is an attempt to give teens a bit more autonomy, the company said.

There are multiple ways parents can set limits on how their teens shop on Amazon. You can either approve purchases on a case-by-case basis or set spending limits - kind of like a virtual allowance - for them.

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If you have a Prime membership, you can share those benefits with your teen at no additional cost, Amazon said.

Amazon's move to zone in on the demographic isn't surprising, with 49 percent of teenagers listed Amazon as their favourite website. Teens can also send an invitation to their parent through either SMS or email.

"As a parent of a teen, I know how they crave independence, but at the same time that has to be balanced with the convenience and trust that parents need".

Amazon.com is now shifting its efforts to include a new demographic, teenager shoppers; who are now able to purchase items with permission from their parents. "We've listened to families and have built a great experience for both teens and parents", Michael Carr, vice president, Amazon Households said in a statement.

The next step for Amazon would be to make it easier for teens to use this cash, perhaps by configuring a digital allowance parents can dole out to teens' accounts.

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