Does Alexa ‘Echo’ With Parents?
In a world of technology breakthroughs, here is a digital tool from Amazon set to transform your home by acting on your every wish and command. Presenting Echo — the 'smart'est genie of them all!
By Team ParentCircle
Technology breakthroughs today have taken the world by storm and yes, changed the way we live. So, how about getting your home a ‘smart’ voice-activated speaker that could carry out your every wish and command? And what if we told you it could also make your life hassle-free, more organised and best of all, keep your children happily engaged? Yes, the Amazon Echo device integrated with the amazing Alexa might just be the ideal digital tool parents are looking for, to make life smarter and easier!
What is Amazon Echo?
- Amazon Echo is a smart speaker developed by Amazon. The brain behind the device is Amazon’s voice-controlled digital assistant ‘Alexa’.
- Alexa is a voice assistant that understands human language and recognises voice commands, to perform requested tasks.
- The device performs a wide variety of family-oriented tasks in response to instructions voiced out, such as ‘Play a song’, ‘Read a story’, ‘Schedule a reminder’, and so on.
Top 7 ways parents can benefit from Amazon Echo
A ‘family-friendly’ device, Echo comes with a host of benefits for both parents and children alike. Here, we list some of them:
1. Smart interactions: Now, spending quality time with your toddler becomes exciting — learn nursery rhymes, alphabets and numbers together, in a fun and engaging way!
- Hungama Rhymes: 'Alexa, open Hungama Rhymes'.
- ChuChu TV: 'Alexa, ask ChuChu TV to play animal songs'.
- Bob the Train: 'Alexa, open Bob the Train'.
- Amar Chitra Katha’s India Quiz: 'Alexa, open Amar Chitra Katha Quiz'.
- Forest Fortune: 'Alexa, open Forest Fortune'.
- Amazon Storytime: 'Alexa, ask Amazon Storytime to read me a story'.
2. Question time: 'Alexa, why is the sky blue?', 'Alexa, what is the spelling of dinosaurs?' If you’ve had to constantly look up answers for your curious little one, then heave a sigh of relief! Alexa is here to provide the answers.
3. Time off: Have unfinished work to take care of? No worries! Echo will keep your child engaged with useful interactive activities such as games, stories, quizzes, jokes, brainteasers and songs! Voice time is better than screen time, don’t you think?
4. Parenting guide: Worried about bringing up your child right? Tune into a rich database of content and explore parenting topics as varied as learning, nutrition and wellness. Just ask, 'Alexa, what food has Vitamin A?' or 'Alexa, what nutrition is there in bananas?'
5. Quick reminders: Echo can help you manage your time and family schedules better, with alarms, timers and to-do lists. From setting reminders for feeds, naps, bath time of toddlers, managing hectic morning routines and after-school activities of school-going children to, office meetings/deadlines and domestic duties such as grocery shopping, laundry pickups and wedding functions to attend — Echo manages it all. Ask Alexa, 'Alexa, can you remind me to heat the milk at 10.00 am every day' or 'Alexa, set a timer for 10 minutes' or, 'Alexa, add stationery to my shopping list'.
6. Healthy living: Now, no need to fret over cooking healthy meals for your family. You can now use Alexa to find recipes for nutritious meals and snacks, healthy living tips, organic food stores in your city and much more. Just say, 'Alexa, give me the recipe for khichdi' or, 'Alexa, I want to make a healthy snack'.
7. Let’s work out: Discover creative ideas to engage your children in physical activities. Echo can even play fitness routine music for a daily dose of parent-child aerobics, yoga or boogey time at home! 'Alexa, give me a five minute workout' or 'Alexa, play top Bollywood songs'.
How to make it work?
It’s so simple, kids as young as five can easily use it. Here, we list some salient features:
- The user-friendly Alexa app namely ‘Amazon Alexa’ can be easily installed on any smartphone from the Play Store.
- Once you open the app, search for specific ‘skills’ that interest you and enable the same from the app.
- The Amazon website also hosts an Alexa Skill Store where you can search and enable different ‘skills’.
- The Alexa-integrated smart speaker performs the requested tasks by specifically referencing these enabled ‘skills’.
- The range of ‘skills’ available varies according to the country you live in.
- Once you enable a ‘skill’, simply instruct the device, 'Alexa, open Amazon Storytime' and continue interacting to find that perfect bedtime story.
What do parents have to say?
“I feel this device makes life easier! I can set reminders for meetings, picking up kids from school, after-school classes, and so on. It also keeps the kids occupied with songs and other activities. I would not want my kids to become too dependent on a screen, but with Echo they have access to books, games, learning and more” – Moina Memon, a mompreneur with two young kids.
“This device is very cool! It plays great music with good sound quality. My kids would love to have this at home.” – Rex Fernando, father of two sons.
“I loved the sound quality and yes, Alexa's voice. I'd rather my child listens to music, animal sounds and stories, than watch videos. Also, I can set alarms, plan schedules and search for recipes!” – Sindhu Sivalingam, mother of a three-year-old.
“My daughter and I had an interesting experience with this device! She loves listening to stories and I am delighted with the collection. The narration is crisp and clear. I would recommend this device provided parents set limits for interactions with Alexa.” – Deepthi Balasunder, mother of a six-year-old.
Digital assistants such as the Amazon Echo could easily become your go-to device, as it can go beyond mobile phones or laptops. It can help manage family schedules better and make life easier. It also serves as a rich source of learning and entertainment that parents and children can discover together.
The Echo device and the brains behind it, Alexa, are constantly evolving and being updated. The smart speaker is steadily picking up pace in the market and gradually changing people’s mindsets towards the adoption of voice technology into daily life.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is based exclusively on inputs from Amazon Echo.
About the author:
Written by Team ParentCircle on 10 January 2019.
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