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Apr 22, 2021
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Juliya Smith

How Kids Can Use Alexa Safely?

Amazon Alexa is capable of doing various functions through voice. The development of technology and IT has created a device like Alexa. It uses speech recognition and a natural language system to communicate with people.

How does Alexa Work?

Amazon Echo is a range of speakers that respond to our voices. The voice-controlled assistant is Alexa.

First, it recognizes and acts faster. The wake word is “Alexa” and “Alexa Wake”. In pc, we need to switch on the button to open the computer and process it. Similarly in Alexa, we need to say the wake word “Alexa” to process.

After recognizing the wake word it connects with Amazon secure cloud, the cloud verifies the wake word and processes the request the user has commanded. After confirming the request, it sends back the interpretation to the user.

So, isn’t it Smart? It does the range of work.

Alexa popularity has jacked. As new technology and ranges of services, the parents may wonder if it is safe for children or not?

As it has many ranges of services. It has included a set of services that the parents can maintain to ensure their child's protection. With the right way, we can make Alexa secure. It does have some risks that we all should know before giving to our children.

The Alexa risk that Parents Should be Clear about:

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Although it has a separate security measure for kids. There still are chances of risk if not used properly. In the case of Children, we cannot be careless. We have to be careful so that a small change doesn’t risk our children's future.

1. Calling and Messaging

Children love technology. They love to play and experiment with it frequently. But when your children keep calling your business colleagues, then it creates a problem. If Alexa is connected to your business associate, it may cause a lot of embarrassment.

2. Drop-in

Drop-in is instantly connecting to any Echo device. That means it instantly connects to contact with permission. You can drop in on any echo devices i.e. your own echo devices or your friends and family devices. When you drop in, the green colour light emits from the device. You can drop in by simply saying “Alexa Drop in on (contact name)”.

Drop-in allows sharing screens between connected people. It is exciting for those people who want to share information but it is a privacy concern as every person can see and hear everything within the range of connection.

3. Shopping

Children may throw a tantrum about purchasing items that they want. Further when Alexa has a payment account connected then it is easier for your child to purchase items. Your child may order or purchase a lot of items by voice purchasing. This doesn’t help in saving if you had planned to save money.

Your child may be happy but you may not be happy when you find a delivery person standing at your door.

4. Mature Lyrics Content

Alexa is mostly used for playing songs. There may be a variety of music that you listen to and don’t want your child to listen to it. Mistakenly you could connect your account to Alexa without removing mature lyrics content. So, always be careful of which account you are connecting with Alexa.

In your child's presence make sure you have a separate account where there is only child content available.

5. Notification

It is not a risk. But it can be annoying and disturbing. When suddenly your child wakes up due to the strange voice in the middle of the night. It definitely will tire you and your child. But if you don’t want this situation there is Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition that you can purchase. It is made for children with parental controls.

6. Additional Updates

There is much new additional software that amazon adds in Alexa. As a parent try to be more updated. There may be some additional software changes that may not be good for your children. So try to be aware of the new updates and changes of Alexa.

Ways to Keep Kids Safe from Alexa

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There are many Alexa settings that we can use to keep kids safe. Parental Controls are available in android and iOS. Parental Controls are one of the measures of monitoring your child's activities. It helps to remove unwanted and filter out content.

● Free Time

Go to the Alexa app, click the three-line icon in the left corner at the top of the screen. Last, in the list, you can see Settings, select Settings, and again select Device Settings. This will give out all the devices connected to your Alexa or Alexa devices connected with your account. Select the first Alexa you wish to change.

Now down the list, you can see Free Time. Select and enable it. Now you will be able to block mature music from being played, turn off features such as Calling and Messaging. When this is enabled we can set up children’s profiles in Parental Dashboard and set controls for your child.

Free Time helps parents to control when and for how long their children are using the device. The parents can set up time limits for their children. It acts as a Parental Control Tool. But you cannot find every service here. For additional service, you need to purchase Free Time Unlimited.

● Settings Enable and Disable

The features such as Drop-in can only be used if enabled. First, enable then only Drop-in works. Due to this Drop-in is not risky. But as a parent, you must know whether Drop-in is enabled or not. For that, you can go to the Alexa app. Select echo and Alexa and select your devices. Again Select Communication and select Drop-in. Now check whether it is enabled or disabled.

You can select the specific settings from the application. You can either select it or disable it according to your planning. This will help to show contents that only you want your child to see.

● Voice Purchasing

In Alexa, we have the feature of voice recognition. If you don’t want your child to bring delivery outside your door, you can enable them to recognize speakers. This will only recognize the listed voice. Other voices cannot do online shopping from your device.

There is a feature called Voice Purchasing where you can enable Four-digit code in the required confirmation code field. Confirmation can only be done through this code. Until we confirm the code to Alexa, we cannot order online.

You can enable Voice purchasing by going to settings of Alexa App, then select account settings and turn on Voice Purchasing.

● Free Time Unlimited

Free Time Unlimited is an additional service of Free Time. It uses Echo Dot Kids Edition's which is specially made for parents and kids. Parents use it as parental control. Kids can use it for ranges of age limit contents of audiobooks, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and many more.

Additional service of Free Time Unlimited:

● Set the limits of your child screen time,

● Age filters so that you can maintain child limit content

● Learn first allows parents to block cartoons and games

Its price range starts from $2.99 per month. There is a one-month free trial available too

● Do not disturb mode

You can control all the notifications that come in the middle of the night. You can enable this mode by saying “Alexa, turn on Do not disturb mode”. This mode helps to control unwanted notifications and sound. You can also go to Device Settings of the Alexa App. Select Echo and Alexa and select your device. And then select do not disturb mode.

Conclusion

Alexa is easier for everyone. From a kid to an elderly person, everyone can use Alexa easier as we can control it through our voice. Many settings in Alexa may not be appropriate for children. So the parents must be updated with those settings.

● The parents should not connect their personal and professional accounts with Alexa.

● Unwanted and riskier content should be disabled

● The age of content should be filtered and managed.

● The Drop-in setting should not be enabled.

● Face Time should be enabled for a kid and if you want additional features Unlimited FaceTime is available.

So let’s try to enjoy the benefit of technology and IT through Alexa. If we are careful enough then Alexa is not riskier for children. Instead, it gives learning content and learning becomes easier and exciting for them.


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Juliya Smith

Hello, I am Juliya a mother of 2 children and a content editor at fenced.ai where I share parenting tips and guides on how to keep your child safe online.