Teens get their own Amazon accounts (if their parents let them)

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Teens with an Amazon account are about to acquire some buying power. Teens will now be able to buy things using those accounts in the Amazon app.

Teens can also tap into the benefits of their parent's membership in Amazon's Prime program, which offers faster shipping and on-demand video streaming, among other perks. Amazon ran afoul of regulators recently for its policies toward refunds pertaining to digital goods purchased by kids. That sounds quaint compared with Amazon Inc.'s new program, launching Wednesday, which lets parents manage-and fund-online-shopping accounts for their teens. The catch: parents will be notified of each purchase via text or email, and will, by default, have to approve or deny each one.

Finally, the parent can either approve or deny the order by text.

Parents can skip the approval step by setting spending limits. "We've listened to families and have built a great experience for both teens and parents", said Michael Carr, Vice President, Amazon Households, in a statement about the launch. And if you're a parent, Amazon requires that you certify that your teen's phone number or email address needed to link their accounts belongs to someone between the ages of 13 and 17.

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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.

But for a generation that spends so much of its time glued to its mobile phones while their parents work longer and longer hours to make ends meet, this could greatly simplify the process. Once a teen receives an invitation, they create their own user name and password, and then download the Amazon App to start shopping.

The teens get free rein to shop around-to a point.

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