Amazon Gives Teens Autonomy to Spend Parents' Money Online

How Jeff Bezos Became the King of E-Commerce

Fair warning to parents: Amazon.com Inc. has just announced plans to let your teenagers use your account to shop.

Kids age 13 to 17 can now create their own login and account on the Amazon app, allowing them to shop or stream content under digital parental supervision. If the parents are Prime members, teens can have have individual access to most of the same benefits including movies, gaming via Twitch and free two-day shipping, Amazon said in a statement Wednesday. Parents get a text or email and approve each order their children want to make, or they can set pre-approved spending limits for more autonomy.

The announcement from Seattle-based Amazon comes at a particularly tough time for physical retailers catering to teens. As more commerce moves online, foot traffic at malls has declined significantly, and the "mall rat" -- those teenagers who spend all their free time (and presumably their allowance), is becoming a relic of the past. Traditional retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch Co., Express Inc. and Urban Outfitters Inc., have had trouble attracting teen shoppers, who tend to have fickle tastes and are notoriously unpredictable.

By essentially establishing an online allowance, Amazon has found a way to rope in the next generation of consumers.

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