"Hey Alexa, Where do babies come from?" That was the question that stopped me in my tracks. As the milliseconds ticked by, the mama bear in me overtook and slightly overreacted. I began screaming, yelling, making as much noise as I possibly could to make sure my children did not here the response. Alexa replied, "Babies come from the human repro-". I unplugged her before she got further, but that was only the beginning.
Immediately my child started crying, thinking they were in trouble. On the contrary, I took them in my arms, held them tightly, and explained my crazy reaction. I want every parent to know this about so-called SMART devices. They're anything but smart. They're still primitive in their development, use and we won't touch their main security flaws. We are well on our way to the Star Trek gadgets and tech advancements shown in the saga. Yet, we are still lightyears away from our SMART devices being as capable as those depicted in the TV show.
Something else that we must be aware of is our children's curiosity hasn't changed. They're still curious as ever about everything from how pencils are made to what makes fireflies glow to where babies come from. The main thing that has changed is now our children can ask Siri, Google, Alexa or any other AI device a question they have and get an answer immediately. The answer comes without our consent, approval or even written way of how we want it to respond. If Alexa had responded, "That's a question for Mommy and Daddy." I would've been completely at ease. However, Alexa's response started to become a little more in depth than I wanted for the kids present.
And our children's curiosity isn't limited to just SMART devices. They can have curiosity about anything. That can be a good thing, but it can backfire if we don't teach them that there are "adult questions".
Adult Questions questions we should only ask a trusted adult like Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa or a Teacher.
This was a huge part of the discussion my husband and I have had with our kids over the past several days. We have talked about questions we should ask, questions we should ask with an adult and questions that are only adult questions. To learn more about what we discussed in detail, you can click here.
I have to say that this experience with the Echo Dot I was testing out (not the kids version), proved to be a valuable lesson. This experience was nothing new to me since I answer questions like this all the time. It was a testament that what I have been trained and the things I am working towards work 100% of the time. Is my goal to stop the bad things from coming into my home? No. That's never going to happen, even with my crazy security background. My goal was to create a safe playground my kids could play in and experience the digital world safely. So when mistakes like this happen I'm there to catch them. I'm right there to help them be safe, use tech responsibly, and love them through the messy bits. You can do the same thing too.
Raising kids in a digital world doesn't have to be difficult. Learn the tools you need to enhance your power over technology so you can do what you do best: Be There For Them.