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Table of Contents

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Published on Oct 07, 2021
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Juliya Smith

How Kids Can Use Alexa Safely? | Minimize Alexa Risks

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

Alexa is used for numerous purposes, such as interacting with voice commands, playing music, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing real-time information such as weather, traffic, and sports.

Due to these features, Alexa is gaining popularity and its use is increasing day by day. So, know how Alexa works and is it safe for kids or not.

How Does Alexa Work?

Amazon Echo is the name of the speaker who responds to our voices where the voice-controlled assistant is named 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 a range of work.

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

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. However, it does have some risks that we all should know before giving to our children.

Alexa Risk that Every Parent Must Know

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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 connected to any Echo devices. That means it instantly connects to contact with permission. You can drop in on any echo devices, i.e., your own echo devices or 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 connected payment account, 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 mainly used for playing songs. There may be a variety of music you listen to and don't want your child to listen to. 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.

Make sure you have a separate account where only child content is available in your child's presence.

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 an 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 tries 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 new updates and changes of Alexa.

Ways to Keep Kids Safe From Alexa

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Parental Controls are one of the measures of monitoring your child's activities. It helps to remove unwanted and filter out content.

Parental Controls settings are available in Android and iPhone to control child cell phone usage and keep them safe. Similarly, there are many Alexa settings that we can use to keep kids safe.

Below are some of the Alexa Settings you can use for parental control:

  • Free Time

Free Time helps parents to control when and for how long their children are using the device. To enable this follow the following steps:

  • 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 block mature music from being played and turn off features such as Calling and Messaging. When this is enabled, we can set up children's profiles in the Parental Dashboard and set controls for your child.

The parents can set up time limits for their children. Thus, 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. So first, enable then only Drop-in works due to which 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. Then, you can either select it or disable it according to your planning. This will help to show content 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 to 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 are 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.

Tips for Parents to Make Alexa Safe for Kids

Alexa offers many features for parents to control its usage by their children which we have already discussed above. However, below we have a few tips for parents to make Alexa safe for kids.

  • The parents should not connect their personal and professional accounts with Alexa.
  • Unwanted and explicit lyric content should be disabled.
  • The age filters should be managed on specific content.
  • The Drop-in setting should not be enabled.
  • FaceTime should be enabled for a kid, and if you want additional features, Unlimited FaceTime is available.
  • Get familiar with Alexa enabled devices.
  • Parents should limit internet time after school

Following the above tips, kids can use Alexa safely. Thus, Follow the tips and tricks and let you and your kids use Alexa safely.

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. However, many settings in Alexa may not be appropriate and safe for kids. So the parents must be up to date with new features and settings.

Get familiar with all the Alexa settings as it allows parents to prevent their kids from safe usage of devices and the internet. 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. So, let's try to enjoy the benefits of technology and IT through Alexa.

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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.