Are Siri and Alexa Behind Your Child’s Rude Behavior?

Are Siri and Alexa Behind Your Child’s Rude Behavior?

Voice assistant technology might be a great tool for facilitating verbal interaction between humans and machines, but it’s definitely not a courteous one. A new analysis by experts from the University of Cambridge’s School of Clinical Medicine suggests Siri, Alexa, and Google Home might be impacting children’s emotional and social development.


The researchers claim that these smart voice assistants are likely the cause behind children suffering from “impeded social development” and “hindered learning opportunities.” The findings of the study were published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Smart Assistant Spreading Misinformation?

“The lack of ability to engage in non-verbal communication makes use of the devices a poor method of learning social interaction,” said Ananya Arora and Anmol Arora, University of Cambridge researchers who headed the study.

The study concluded that dependence on AI-powered technology could stem anti-social and harmful behaviors in children. “Children have poor understanding of how information is retrieved from the internet, where the internet is stored, and the limitations of the internet,” the report said.

With such strong faith in the internet, it’s easy for budding brains to absorb false information. While the spread of misinformation and platforms lacking tools to curb it is a widely known fact, AI assistants are adding fuel to the fire.

As per a Stanford research project in 2021, different smart AI assistants provide different answers to health-related queries. While adults will be able to educated decisions in such cases, children might be at high risk.

Children’s Social Growth Also Affected

Heavy reliance on the internet is also affecting the social growth of children. One-on-one interactions help shape social understanding and allow young brains to learn how to behave in a real-world setting. Chatting with a digital assistant might not be capable of doing so.

Simply put, AI assistants aren’t a great tool to teach children social interactions, despite advancements in language processing, these AI tools cannot teach etiquette to children and train them to conduct themselves well.

Besides, these smart assistants are also lacking because they do not encourage children to respond with good gestures including “Please” and “Thank you,” the study said.

The study also argues that these devices might be helpful for the elderly who suffer from loneliness, they seem to have “counter effects in a pediatric population” that “requires more and urgent attention.”

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