Most likely the creators of the Amazon Alexa assistant tried to anticipate any issue that might appear and to offer a solution for it. However, most likely they didn’t anticipate that their product would be a nightmare for parents! If you check the reviews of the smart home system designed by the Amazon team, you will see that many people describe it as such, since people encounter lots of issues with it because of their children.
The most often encountered problems were related to the fact that kids have undeveloped vocabularies and minds, and the devices can misinterpret and miscommunicate, leading even to purchases in your name. One of the most famous cases that surfaced is that of Megan Neitzel, in Dallas, TX, who received an Echo Dot as a gift. However, the order was placed by her daughter, aged 6, who asked Alexa for cookies and a dollhouse. As such, the assistant ordered 4 pounds of cookies, plus the Kidcraft Dollhouse, which costs $170.
So what’s there to do about it? Well, there are some simple tips you can follow:
- Enable shopping with a PIN code. Some extra step for authorizing a purchase can’t hurt you, but it may save you some money.
- Change the wake word. If you child learned that “Alexa” is the wake word, you also have a couple of other options in the Settings menu, but they might also learn that pretty fast.
- Set up a Household Account. This option allows you to create 2 accounts for adults and 4 for children. The children ones are not allowed to make purchases, but they can access appropriate books and music on them. Go to Settings, Profiles and Family Library, and there you can start creating a customized profile for your kid.