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Amazon’s new Echo rewards kids for saying 'please' + 'thank you'

The new Echo Dot Kids Edition also encourages kids to say 'please.'

Amazon’s new Echo rewards kids for saying 'please' + 'thank you'
Amazon

We all want our children to grow up valuing manners and being polite, but for today's tech-savvy kids, manners are sometimes not top of mind when communicating with or through digital devices.


Amazon just announced it's launching the Echo Dot Kids Edition which—in addition to stopping the constant stream of crazy kid questions directed at mom and dad's Alexa—will now reward kids who use their "magic words."

The kids edition is priced at $79.99 and comes with one year of the new FreeTime Unlimited family plan. Within that subscription you get access to over 300 Audible kids' books; kid-friendly music, and content from Disney, Nickelodeon, National Geographic.

The extra cool thing is that if kids are polite when accessing this stuff, Alexa rewards them by recognizing their good manners.

Like, if a kid says "Alexa, please tell me how many whiskers a cat has?"Alexa will reply with something like, "Thanks for asking so nicely."

If the kiddo says thanks after Alexa replies to some crazy kid command, the Kids Edition Dot will say "You're welcome."

Critics of Alexa are pretty stoked about this upgrade. According to the BBC, the researchers at ChildWise, which recently published a report warning that kids growing up with virtual assistants might be learning rude behavior, are happy to see Amazon taking kids (and manners) into account when designing such devices.

"This is a very positive development," ChildWise research director Simon Leggett told the BBC. "We had noticed that practically none of the children that we had talked to said they ever used the words 'please' or 'thank you' when talking to their devices."

So in addition to helping your kids remember to use their magic words, what else can the Echo Dot for kids do? Well, it'll block inappropriate songs, can be set to go silent and bedtime, and will tell your kids when dinner is ready so that you don't have to yell up the stairs. Pretty cool.

"With Echo Dot Kids Edition and FreeTime on Alexa, parents can have peace of mind knowing their kids are getting age-appropriate content, while they listen to music, ask questions, enjoy Audible books, use Alexa skills, and more. We can't wait for parents and kids to try this out," says Dave Limp, the Senior Vice President, Amazon Devices and Services.

According to Amazon, this Alexa "speaks kid," so if your child says something like, "Alexa, I'm bored," the device will spout off some age-appropriate suggestions. There's also an activity review, so parents can review what their kids are doing during FreeTime on Alexa, and listen back to the kids' voice recordings.

The Echo Dot Kids Edition is about $30 more than a regular Echo Dot, but it comes in three kid colors (red, green and blue) and a 2-year warranty in case your kids are a little rough with it.

FreeTime on Alexa and the Echo Dot Kids Edition launch May 9.

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After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

baby bjorn bouncer

The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.

$200

Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

Entertainment zone:

Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

Great style:

This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

It's adjustable:

With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

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