Do voice assistants set us apart? One study shows they hinder the social development of little ones

Some researchers at the University of Cambridge ensure voice assistants like Google, Siri or Alexa The cognitive development of children who use them may be hindered. This technique can be used for a myriad of things, such as answering silly or complicated questions, finding out what the weather is going to be like, or asking them to set a timer. It sounds harmless, but Ananya Arora and Anmol Arora explain that it might not be.

Through a publication uploaded to the Archives of Disease in Childhood, experts detailed the harms that smart assistants can reveal in their interactions with the little ones in the home. The article highlights three reasons why they may be related: Inappropriate responses, inhibiting social development and hindering learning opportunities.

inappropriate responses

The researchers highlighted a case from 2021 in which a girl asked Alexa to do a dare, and the AI ​​challenged her to touch a socket with a coin. Although Amazon has fixed this flaw Regarding the voice assistant, it is not the first time that this technology has failed and gives answers that are different from what it should give.

According to the Cambridge Experts article, there is no system of advanced functions that can avoid this type of situation if assistants are used with minors. ,Strong parental controls are hard to implement on such devices without severely affecting their functionality,” he says.

social development

Generally, the answers that the attendees give They do not mimic the way humans socialize. Although they may cooperate more or less, children who are fully developed must interact with other people to avoid imitating the machine.

According to the researchers, AI cannot scold a child for misbehavior or provide creative solutions. “may increase The risk of over-humanizing children’s digital devices“, point.

It is available now.

learning opportunities

In this regard, the researchers point to a study in which they concluded that children They didn’t know where the information came from the internet or where your personal data was stored. This means that young children are unaware of the concept of privacy on the web.

Following the citation of this study, Cambridge experts spoke of the urgency of an inquiry that would analyze “the long-term consequences for children who interact with these devices”. His hypothesis marked that auxiliaries are in “an important stage of social and emotional development”. This can have a negative effect on “empathy, compassion and critical thinking”.

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