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  • Dan Cooke

Alexa? do you make children bratty?

There's an article on the zine today about the effect new digital assistants such as Alexa (other assistant digital assistants are available, unless Amazon would like to provide me with a free one, then Alexa is the only one and also the best one) have on our children. The topic of conversation being, do these digital assistants produce bratty kids. I mean you can certainly see the basis for that argument, little 5 year old Jimmy can demand just about anything from Alexa, and I can't imagine she'll ever directly say no. Now this certainly sounds dangerous, a child who never hears the word no, and I can speak from experience as a cricket coach, that bratty kids, aren't particularly pleasant. Tears when things don't go their own way, tears when they don't get what they want, it's tiresome the first time, imagine what the next 15 times are like.

Now as much as I can understand the Alexa argument, I have a counter-argument; digital assistants don't create bratty kids, their parents do -> spark flailing arms from upper middle class parents, and utterances of the work outrage whilst preparing to tuck into their gravlax and prosecco. But yes, I think it's your faults, it's an exaggeration to use the 'guns don't kill people, people do' but I'm sure you understand the principle. Alexa may never say no to little Jimmy, which would be ok, as long as the parents did. But they don't. They can't bring themselves to, so Jimmy sits there raking it in, he's got it easy. For now... the issue with being a bratty kid, is that you're a bratty 'kid', and it can lead to a big shock once you reach adult life where you realise banks won't just give you money, and your boss will make you do actual work.

Technology gets a lot of press bashing, but I think it's a wonderful thing, and these new digital assistants such as Google home (just in case they fancy giving me a free one too and amazon have stopped reading this blog) are incredible and frankly they're just very cool. So let's give them a break, we can't blame them for producing entitled children, because bratty kids have been around a lot longer than them, but they've been around for almost exactly the same amount of time as parents, deduce what you will from that.

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