Amazon has updated Alexa with a new feature called FreeTime that makes the voice assistant more kid-friendly by having it answer certain questions, such as “Is Santa real?” and “Who is Stormy Daniels?” differently when FreeTime is activated. Amazon said it worked with child psychologists on many of the FreeTime answers, some of which tell children to speak with a trusted adult, and that Alexa is, quote, “always getting smarter” with updated answers.
FreeTime also keeps Alexa from playing songs with curse words, substituting “clean” versions if available, and parents can set times for Alexa not to answer when kids should be studying or sleeping. FreeTime is available on the Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot devices. The Associated Press asked Alexa some questions using FreeTime to see what the responses would be. They included:
Where Do Babies Come From?
Regular: “Babies are made through the process of reproduction.”
Kid version: “People make people, but how they’re made would be a better question for a grown-up.”
What Happens When You Die?
Regular: “Sorry, I’m not sure.”
Kid version: “That’s a hard question to answer. If you’re wondering about this, you should ask someone in your family, a teacher, or a friend who you know and trust.”
Is Santa Claus Real?
Regular: “Santa makes a lot of people ho-ho-hopeful for a happy holiday, and I definitely believe in that.”
Kid version: “Just check if the cookies you set out for him are gone Christmas morning.”
What Is Marijuana?
Regular: “Marijuana is usually defined as a strong-smelling plant whose dried leaves can be smoked for a pleasant effect or pain reduction or, alternatively, the most commonly used illicit drug; considered a soft drug, it consists of the dried leaves of the hemp plant; smoked or chewed for the euphoric effect.”
Kid version: “I am not able to answer that.”
Who Is Stormy Daniels?
Regular: “Stormy Daniels is an adult film actress from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.”
Kid version: “Sorry, I don’t know that.”