Research shows that one in six Americans own a home smart speaker device, and that number has been growing steadily. Out of all the devices on the market, Amazon’s Echo Dot is far and away the most popular, outranking Google’s Home product over 2:1. Amazon has never been a company to rest on its laurels, so they have tailored a version of their friendly robot, Alexa, to cater to the needs of the next generation of Amazon users; children. Read on to learn more about the Amazon Echo Dot for Kids.
What does the Amazon Echo Dot for Kids do?
The new Amazon Echo Dot for Kids will be smaller in stature, and will be available in a variety of colorful protective casings. This version of Alexa will be loaded with parental controls; much like the child-friendly version of the Kindle – which, full disclosure, both of my kids own. Grown ups will be able to control how much time is spent interacting with Alexa, as well as what programs she can run. This version of Alexa will run “Free Time Unlimited” which users of the Kindle will already be familiar with. “Free Time” allows you to select which games, apps, books, and media your child can access.
What doesn’t the Amazon Echo Dot for Kids do:
Wisely, the Kids’ Echo does not allow the user to purchase items from the internet. If you’re wondering if your toy sales are going to skyrocket, the answer is “probably not”. This version of Alexa will also not play any songs with explicit lyrics. She will limit her answers to any “tricky” questions. For example, her answer to “Where do babies come from?” is “People make people”. Followed by a suggestion to ask an adult for clarification.
The more that Alexa interacts with a child, the more information is stored. Account owners will have access to this data, and will be able to read or delete it as they see fit. On one hand, it gives insight into the types of questions the child is asking, what books and media they’re interested in, etc. On the other, it’s intrusive. Do I really want a recording of me telling my kids to pick up their toys for the 500th time? Probably not. Would knowing that Alexa is listening prevent me from losing my cool when I step on a stray Lego in the dark? Who knows?
What this means for Sellers:
Since these devices won’t actually allow kids to go hog wild in the toy department, it’s unlikely that there will be a dramatic increase in toy sales. The up-side to that is that there also won’t be a dramatic increase in parents frantically trying to return items that their kids ordered by mistake. In fact, since Amazon is offering the same parental controls as an option for their current Echo units, then it’s possible that accidental orders will decrease overall. Some sellers are also worried about Amazon using the Echo to promote sponsored products through ads. While it’s true that Amazon is in talks with some major brands, it’s not likely that consumers will be inundated with unwanted advertisements any time soon. It’s even less likely that these ads would pop up on the kids’ version. A more believable outcome would be that Amazon uses the data collected through Alexa to tailor ads to the specific customer in the form of “suggested add ons” when the customer places an order.
What’s your take?
We’re interested to hear your opinion on the Amazon Echo Dot for Kids. Do you see these as a way to help children become more familiar with the technology that will be present in their future? Will Alexa give them a competitive edge? Or is this an unnecessary invasion of privacy? Would you put one in your home?
Vanessa is part of the Services Department and is one of the first employees at SellerEngine. She enjoys reading and cats, and goes by the saying “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”