Amazon's new plan aims to get teens hooked

Ben Fox Rubin  CNET

Ben Fox Rubin CNET

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. Amazon will allow parents to scrap the approval setup in favor of setting spending limits, too, the company says. "We've listened to families and have built a great experience for both teens and parents". The teen can request the account and the parent can confirm via a text or email. Once received, the parent confirms which payment method and shipping address will be used for teens' orders. The accounts will allow them to search and shop for items, but there are some restrictions so that parents don't have to worry about their bank accounts.

Amazon launched Households in 2015 in order to install more control over the ways people were sharing their Prime accounts with friends and family, and this is an evolution of that move.

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For Amazon, getting teens to shop now could turn them into customers for the rest of their lives, said Brendan Witcher, an e-commerce industry analyst at Forrester.

Finally, the parent can either approve or deny the order by text. Once a teen receives an invitation, they can create their own username and password.

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Amazon (AMZN) now wants teenagers to shop on their own without mom and dad chiming in. They can also cancel or return orders their teens have made.

And teens whose parents have a Prime membership will also be able to access Prime benefits at no additional cost, Carr added.

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Their credit card information will be hidden on the teen accounts, as will their purchase and browsing histories.

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