Monmouth's Ask the Doctor November-December 2018

K I D S ’ H E A L T H


Amazon Echo for Parenting By Lauren Kolacki Technology advancements have changed the way the world operates. Some nostalgic adults fear their take over, while others have decided to take them for all they are worth. If there is an opportunity to decrease the amount of effort that is required every day, even the slightest bit, shouldn't we take advantage? In 2014, Amazon created a hands-free speaker you control with your voice, the Amazon Echo. Echo connects to the Al- exa Voice Service to play music, make calls, send and receive messages, provide information, news, sports scores, weath- er, etc. As if those features weren’t good enough, individuals claim that Alexa is now even helping them parent. “Alexa, set timer.” Alexa’s clock feature is able to set timers to remind your children that it’s time to start their homework or take their medicine. It can put a cap on screen time or be their morning alarm. Alexa also has an, “Out the Door” skill, which keeps kids on track in their morning rou- tine and even makes it fun. “Alexa, settle a dispute.” Alexa has a “Kids Court” skill, which allows children to work out their disagreements. The people involved each tell Alexa the problem. She suc- ceeds with questions and encouragement to talk the children through the situation. “Alexa, tell a story.” Alexa reads aloud audio books from audible. If you ask, she’ll tell your children a captivating fairy tale or spooky horror story. Alexa even tells interac- tive tales that you influence by answering questions, playing a character, or even directing the action. “Alexa, play a game.” There are several child-friend- ly games to entertain your children for hours. Your classics, such as, bingo, tic tac toe and rock, paper, scissors to more specific such as, an escape room, Mickey Mouse adventures and a detective’s case. “Alexa, play a song.” Some parents have Alexa play the clean-up song when it’s time to put their toys away or play an uplifting dance playlist to prompt a homework break. Music can make waking up or doing chores more desirable.

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