Amazon’s release of Echo Dot Kids has been met with resistance from concerned individuals and organizations, which claim that it might be harmful to children.
Amazon believes otherwise, but according to experts, parents should think twice about buying one for their children.
“The Echo Dot Kids is another unnecessary ‘must-have’ gadget, and it’s also potentially harmful,” said Josh Golin, executive director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. “AI devices raise a host of privacy concerns and interfere with the face-to-face interactions and self-driven play that children need to thrive.”
Jeff Chester of Center for Digital Democracy added that promoting an AI product for children without making sure that it will not harm their development is an irresponsible move on Amazon’s part. He claims that Amazon Echo, among other technologies in the same vein, is designed to promote brands and Echo Dot Kids is no different.
Privacy, however, is not the only concern of lawmakers and advocates. According to Dr. Sherry Turkle, an MIT professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology, children who immerse themselves too much in digital technologies compromise their emotional growth, and an AI-powered assistant is the least that could help that.
“When we encourage children to form faux-relationships with devices, we undermine their ability to form healthy relationships with people,” she said.
The Echo Dot Kids has features that can make a kid heavily rely on the device. Kids can say, “Alexa, I’m bored,” and the voice assistant will respond with games and other entertainment.
Jenny, Radesky, MD, specifically has concerns about this feature, as she claims that being bored is vital for the child’s development.
“It forces them to use their creative thinking skills to figure out what to do next – not be told what to do or think by a parent or a device – and it also gives children practice in tolerating their own (albeit mild) distress,” she said.
Read more of this article, originally published in Tech Times, by clicking on the title link.