Tuesday 18 December, 2018

Alexa, make my kid polite: Echo to get child-friendly update

Alexa's new missions: encourage kids to ask questions more politely, and get them to bed on time.

The voice assistant that lives inside Amazon's Echo speakers will soon thank kids for shouting out questions "nicely" if they say "please." The new response is part of a kid-friendly update that's coming next month, giving parents more control over the voice assistant. Adults can set Alexa to go silent at bedtime, block music with explicit lyrics and even call kids down to dinner.

"Gone are the days of shouting up the stairs," Amazon said in a statement Wednesday.

In addition, Amazon will sell an $80 Echo Dot aimed at kids that comes with colourful cases and a two-year warranty, promising to replace the device if it breaks. Echo Dots typically sell for $50.

Amazon's hope is that the changes will get more parents to put Echo speakers in their children's bedrooms. Amazon and others have targeted kids before to cultivate the next generation of customers: Amazon has sold kid-friendly tablets for years and Fitbit will soon start selling activity trackers for 8-year-olds and older.

Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. said the free updated software, called FreeTime, will start to roll out May 9.

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