Amazon Considered Developing a Smartwatch for Kids

A photo of a kid staring at an Amazon Echo device with her Grammy on the screen

Amazon can join us and ship diapers after we want them, however do they actually need to promote a child on a smartwatch?
Picture: Florence Ion/Gizmodo

Amazon is in each a part of our lives. Many people use its Echo audio system and its Ring safety cameras. It’s our on-line procuring vacation spot for stocking on family necessities we’d like, like, yesterday. In some ways, Amazon will be thought-about a utility for households. However contemplating the mass of products that Amazon makes particularly tailor-made for youths, how do you shield your little one from changing into a buyer by proxy?

That is one thing I’m at all times eager about usually, however now extra particularly provided that Bloomberg reports that Amazon was contemplating launching one other entry into its lineup for youths: an Alexa-powered smartwatch. Amazon, which presently makes a health band for adults known as Halo, apparently got here up with the smartwatch concept after Apple rolled out its Family Setup function for the Apple Watch. Household Setup permits mother and father so as to add arrange and handle an Apple Watch for his or her youngsters.

In response to Bloomberg:

Codenamed Seeker, the GPS-equipped system can be geared towards youngsters aged 4 to 12 and will take the type of a wristband, keychain or clip, in keeping with paperwork reviewed by Bloomberg. The voice-activated wearable would supply entry to Amazon’s children-focused content material and let mother and father talk with and monitor their youngsters.

Amazon deliberate to promote the Seeker wearable for $100 and provide wi-fi connectivity plus a 12 months’s subscription to the rebranded Amazon Kids+. It’s $3 a month for kid-friendly books, motion pictures, TV exhibits, apps, and video games on any of Amazon’s gadgets, together with the Echo Show sensible shows.

In response to the paperwork obtained, Amazon was creating further Alexa-enabled merchandise for youths, together with an Alexa-powered karaoke microphone known as Jackson. There’s additionally a wearable system being developed partly with Disney known as the Magic Band. It ought to arrive later this 12 months, although it’s unclear if there’s any affiliation with the present MagicBand wristbands worn by Disney park and resort visitors.

Amazon’s Alexa-powered gadgets haven’t had the best track record with kids, to place it mildly. In 2019, privateness and little one advocates filed a complaint urging the FTC to analyze whether or not Amazon’s Echo Dot sensible audio system have been compliant with the Youngsters’s On-line Privateness Safety Act (COPPA).

At current, there are a couple of strategies for fogeys to handle their youngsters’s interactions with the digital assistant: manually delete each recording from the Alexa dashboard, set it as much as periodically delete recordings, or bear in mind to shout out to Alexa to wash the final interplay. Think about having to do this for each single command uttered by your child to a theoretical Alexa-powered smartwatch whereas they’re out of the house.

As a brand new mother or father, I’ve needed to navigate all types of predicaments in my gadget life that I didn’t have to contemplate earlier than. How linked do I would like my little one to be? What number of screens do I would like her to faucet on earlier than she’s even in a position to learn? It’s a tough stability between wanting to provide her entry to what she wants to reach a technology-first world and defending her from being consumed by it. That’s to not say I don’t recognize the kid-centered gadgets and app choices. I gave in to my very own surveillance of my toddler as a result of I’m determined to know she’s alright always, however that was after cautious consideration for the product. Reviews that Amazon is creating kid-centric merchandise add credence to the concept my daughter is merely a possible buyer when expertise corporations contemplate creating these types of gadgets.

It’s not simply Amazon planning methods to deliver the remainder of the household into the fold. Facebook, Google, and Apple have their very own merchandise, too. That is why it’s time to contemplate whether or not expertise corporations ought to be promoting on to our youngsters in any respect. The unique COPPA act was written in 1998, earlier than the onslaught of synthetic intelligence and the power for corporations to extract meaning from the intonation in an individual—a baby’s!—voice. That’s how Amazon educated Alexa to learn together with a e-book. Till there are extra protections to maintain these seemingly innocent devices from siphoning money-making information from youngsters, mother and father and guardians are the one ones who can do the protective.


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