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Technology is now helping to teach children to be polite. Amazon will soon start selling a children's version of its virtual assistant Alexa. The new digital assistant will be called "FreeTime". The child-friendly device will include what Amazon calls a "Magic Word" feature. Of course, there are two magic words: "Please," and: "Thank you." The smart software is programmed to encourage children to say "please" and "thank you" when they ask the device questions. An example of this is if a child asks FreeTime: "What is the capital city of Australia?" Alexa will answer and end its response with: "Thank you for asking so nicely." Amazon hopes this will encourage children to copy the device and be more polite.



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Amazon says the new Magic Word feature is to answer the many customers who said technology was teaching children to be rude. Many smart devices simply give out sentences without using any polite words. Parents said children copy this way of speaking and forget to say "please" or "thank you". Children also got used to asking smart devices questions without being polite. Not everyone is happy with this new technology. Josh Golin, executive director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, said: "AI devices...interfere with the face-to-face interactions and child-driven play that children need to grow." He believes parents should spend more time with children and teach them politeness.

Sources:

  • https://slate.com/technology/2018/04/amazon-announces-a-kid-friendly-alexa-freetime-and-echo-dot-kids-edition.html
  • https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/baig/2018/04/25/amazon-echo-dot-kids-alexa-thanks-them-saying-please/547911002/
  • http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43897516

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