This is Parentverse, The Information Weekend’s advice column for tech-savvy parents. Email us your questions at [email protected] Or, if you don’t mind sharing them with your fellow subscribers, post them in the comments below.
Dear Parentverse: My four-year-old daughter asks Alexa everything—I mean everything. I thought it was cute at first, but it’s starting to bother me. She’ll ask me something—like “When is grandma coming to visit?”—and then she’ll double-check my answer with Alexa. It’s as though she trusts the machine more than me. I am annoyed, but I can’t decide if this is actually a problem.
It is kind of cute, albeit in a dystopian way. Your daughter’s behavior is a natural outgrowth of hearing adults ask robots questions, and deferring to entities like “Siri,” “the internet” or “Google” for answers. The problem is that your 4-year-old is already developing a dependence on an algorithm before she’s even reached kindergarten. Who should she trust more: her mother, or a disembodied artificial intelligence owned by a megacorporation?