When you welcome a voice assistant into your home, they become part of the home ecosystem, including your little ones. Today, Google optimized its Google Assistant to better serve your children’s needs.
Kids are very observant and bright, so they soon learn that they can ask their Google Assistant any real-world question and get answers to their exact needs.
This unlimited access to information can be very effective in feeding their hunger for knowledge and helping them learn about the world around them.
However, if left unchecked, your children may be exposed to so-called parenting information that you never intended them to learn.
For that reason, Google is rolling out parental controls for the Google Assistant.
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“As a mom, I see the beginning of children’s relationship with technology by realizing the power of their own voice,” said Sissie Hsiao, Vice President of Google Assistant. “And as today’s children grow up in a world surrounded by technology, we want to help them have a safer, more educational and environmental communication experience with Assistant .”
In the coming weeks, parents will have the ability to change media settings, enable or disable certain Assistant functions, and schedule time for their children through Google Home, Family Link, and Google Assistants on Android and iOS, according to a blog post.
With parental controls, parents can choose which music and video providers their children can access, decide whether children can access news or podcasts, and in particular, it prevents them from doing certain things, like making phone calls. The updates also include control over what types of responses your children receive from the Assistant.
Another new feature coming to Google Assistant is Kids Dictionary. When this setting is enabled, if your child asks how to define a word the Assistant will find its voice and answer it in a fun, child-friendly way.
For the Assistant to detect your child’s voice, all you need to do as a parent is to use Family Link or the Google Home app and add the child’s voice to the device.
Finally, there are four great languages for newcomers to the Assistant. These new languages were created in collaboration with children and parents, and there are many different languages to reflect different communities. For example, some languages are slower and more pronounced to help children understand.
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Google isn’t the first to add parental controls to a voice assistant. Amazon has had parental control options available for its speakers since 2018, originally called FreeTime and later renamed Amazon Kids.
Through Amazon Kids, parents have access to an Amazon Parent Dashboard that allows them to create profiles for their children and disable Alexa features, filter the right content, set schedules, and evaluate your child’s performance.
In addition to working with parental controls, Alexa can also interact with children in intelligent ways such as telling jokes, answering homework questions, and use of child information.