Echo to get child-friendly update

SHARE Echo to get child-friendly update
alexa_e1524685113912.jpg

The voice assistant that lives inside Amazon’s Echo speakers will soon thank kids for shouting out questions “nicely” if they say “please.” The new response is part of a kid-friendly update that’s coming next month, giving parents more control over the voice assistant.” (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

NEW YORK — Alexa’s new missions: encourage kids to ask questions more politely, and get them to bed on time.

The voice assistant that lives inside Amazon’s Echo speakers will soon thank kids for shouting out questions “nicely” if they say “please.” The new response is part of a kid-friendly update that’s coming next month, giving parents more control over the voice assistant. Adults can set Alexa to go silent at bedtime, block music with explicit lyrics and even call kids down to dinner.

“Gone are the days of shouting up the stairs,” Amazon said in a statement Wednesday.

In addition, Amazon will sell an $80 Echo Dot aimed at kids that comes with colorful cases and a 2-year warranty, promising to replace the device if it breaks. Echo Dots typically sell for $50.

Amazon’s hope is that the changes will get more parents to put Echo speakers in their children’s bedrooms. Amazon and others have targeted kids before to cultivate the next generation of customers: Amazon has sold kid-friendly tablets for years and Fitbit will soon start selling activity trackers for 8-year-olds and older.

Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. said the free updated software, called FreeTime, will start to roll out May 9.

The Latest
Living a lie and “passing” as an “upper” caste Hindu opened doors, Yashica Dutt discovered while growing up in her native India. But when a Dalit student died by suicide and left a note that read “my birth is my fatal accident,” the journalist felt compelled to shed her armor and publicly reveal in a social media post that, she too, belonged to the community long-maligned as “untouchable.”
The LGBTQ+ dating app will expand its Chicago presence and hire more software engineers.
The Northwest Center plans a “healthy housing” workshop for residents Saturday at Belmont-Cragin School.
It does no good to help train and attract much-needed professionals if the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation can’t figure out how to approve first-time licenses and renewals in a timely fashion.
Periodical cicadas have emerged in northern Illinois, and have been spotted from Lisle to Morgan Park.