NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many people find voice-activated devices to be helpful, but are they actually harming your children?
Some parents say kids can be confused by where the voices are really coming from, or develop bad habits by barking out orders all the time.
The devices are popping up in more and more homes, and it’s not just parents using Alexa or Siri.
“I’ve heard my kid talk to Siri like she was part of the family,” father of two Javier Lezuan said, adding the encounters make him feel “a bit weird.”
Experts say things like that happen fairly often.
“Kids will talk to TVs when they’re younger and think there’s a person there, it’s a hard concept to understand,” psychotherapist Carolyn Meyer-Wartels said. “This is not true relationship building and kids need to have that, and they’re not going to learn that from a machine.”
Experts say voice tech devices can be just as helpful to children as they are to parents, but one study revealed that some children using smart speakers ordered them around likes servants.
So should parents be concerned about that behavior spilling over into their interactions with friends and family? Leadership coach Laurie Wolk says not if you walk them through it.
“We want them to have balance and explain to them that there’s some amazing technology,” she said. “Look, Alexa can order us paper towels and detergent but look at what it feels like to have a friend or jump on a trampoline or roll down a hill on a beautiful summer day.”
Some parents say they just won’t let their little ones have access to devices like Alexa because they want to control the information their children get.
Experts say paying close attention to privacy settings can also go a long way.