New Study Proves Voice Assistants Like Alexa And Siri Can Have Negative Effects On A Child’s Development

Voice assistants have really made so many of our lives easier. Be it, Alexa or Siri, the race is on for the best smart device to take a controlling approach to our routine.

But you’ll be amazed at the results of a new study that proves the dramatic side-effects that come with the endeavor.

Think along the lines of such smart technology negatively impacting a child’s growth. Be it physical or emotional, the research says voice assistants can stunt their growth.

Remember, most of the phones that kids utilize today have voice apps. Whether it's the breakthrough technology from Apple or Amazon, it’s definitely in there somewhere. But now, scientists are ringing the alarm on how these features can prevent the development of skills like empathy, compassion, and even critical thinking. Overall, it impedes their learning too.

This lack of ability to take part in non-verbal forms of communication really affects the social interactions of young kids. The news comes to us through the University of Cambridge’s latest media release.

In terms of normal interactions, a young kid would end up getting constructive feedback in cases when they didn’t behave properly. But that can’t be done through this smart device. It’s just beyond the scope of it.

The research is preliminary in regards to these voice assistants that serve as social companions for adults that are mostly lonely. They’ve been proven to be great for them but we’re not sure if that implies the same for kids too, especially those that are still young and growing.

Researchers claim such incidents are important if a child has been through COVID-19 and due to the lockdown, they’ve been spending more time at home and in isolation with such devices.

Authors of such research claim that so many gadgets can serve as friends for younger people and older ones too. They boost both the reading and interactive skills of such people, thanks to AI technology. But the long-term effects these have on young minds at this pivotal time in growth are definitely alarming.

The leading areas that need to be evaluated that have shown to have detrimental effects include social development, learning, and producing inappropriate responses. To help better shed light on the seriousness of the matter, well, one device even went as far as telling the child to touch the plug of their lamp. So as you can see, parental control over such products is needed to prevent such negative outcomes.

Other than that, researchers are outlining how such products aren’t teaching kids manners. Then there’s the matter pertaining to privacy matters. Think along the lines of having your most intimate or private chats recorded.

There are zero expectations of being polite from the device so kids are allowed to talk in whichever manner they wish. It’s almost as if please and thank you have been omitted from the child’s vocabulary. Also, there’s no consideration given to the tone of voice being used.

Voice assistants are ultimately there to help provide users with the information that they’ve requested. They’re supposed to be there for short and to-the-point answers. But the way kids pick up things and absorb information through such means is definitely not recommended to have good effects on their development.

It also prevents kids from thinking logically, added a few researchers.

More research is definitely required to assess the long-term effects of kids interacting with such products. So it’s best to act now before it’s too late.

Read next: The World Of AR Technology Is Years Away From Mass Consumer Adoption, Confirms IDC
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