Technology can be a blessing and a curse when it comes to kids, but when it comes to Amazon Alexa, the AI’s latest update may just be a lifesaver. If your curious tot happens to blurt out, “Alexa, where do babies come from?,” don’t panic: your AI assistant has your back.

Amazon recently updated Alexa with some new features for the FreeTime component. Kids are free to ask Alexa anything they can imagine, but the AI will now tailor responses based on who is doing the asking. For example, if your kids happen to ask where babies come from or if Santa is real, Alexa might respond by saying “I don’t know” or suggesting that they should instead ask a grown-up.

Photo: HeikoAL via Pixabay

FreeTime also has some other kid-friendly safeguards in place. Songs with explicit lyrics will not be played when requested by kids. Parents can also set up times when Alexa will not respond at all, like when kids should be doing homework or sleeping.

Alexa will also encourage manners, too like saying “thank you” when kids ask a question with a “please,” because we might as well use artificial intelligence to teach our kids politeness—not that Alexa really cares or minds, because of that whole “it’s not a real person with real feelings” thing.

“Alexa isn’t intended to be a replacement parent or caregiver,” Amazon said in a statement. “So we believe it’s important we treat these answers with empathy and point the child to a trusted adult when applicable.”

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—Shahrzad Warkentin

 

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