After we moved into our new home, my tech-loving husband surprised us by decking out the whole house in Amazon Echo’s. You may know them better as Alexa. I’ve mentioned here before we had a Google Home, but Jose wanted to try out its competitor because of supposed technological perks.
Anyway, even Leni has her own Echo Dot in her room with the primary purpose of playing music and occasionally as an intercom (mostly for fun). It’s been around a year since Leni became completely enamoured with the whole spectrum of “bathroom” words . So it wasn’t long before she was requesting Alexa play “bum bum by pee pee.” Like I’m talking days–digital natives for you. When Alexa responds, she says something like “I’m sorry I can’t find bum bum by pee pee.” Cue both my kids rolling on the floor cackling. Finn mostly just mirroring his big sister and likely not quite grasping the true brilliance of her wit.
I have to admit this was a pretty creative use of her potty vernacular and I couldn’t help giggling too. After a few more times, I kind of zoned out, because well…I have my limits. I suddenly tuned in again when the devices response changed. Something like, “your order is complete and will arrive July 26.” Wtf?? This was never a thing with Google so it hadn’t occurred to me that we’d need to change a setting to prevent the kids from inadvertently (or purposely!) ordering shit online!
I immediately booked it downstairs to see if Jose could cancel it (and also find out what on earth she ordered)! And guess what? In Alexa’s confusion with all the pee talk (or perhaps revenge for all the teasing??), she deciphered it as BB. So my 4-year-old ordered a case of 1000 bullets for a BB gun. What in the actual fuck? We were able to cancel it, but seriously bizarro. A month later (despite the fact that I thought we’d fixed the settings) I heard her suggesting some Justin Bieber paraphernalia to Leni when she tried to play Despacito and Alexa couldn’t figure it out. My daughter plays this damn song multiple times a day and yet Alexa still struggles to find the thing half the time. God help me that I’m complaining about NOT hearing this song. All of this is to say, after a couple months as an Alexa house, we’re switching back to Google.
Some very basic functions seem beyond this device at the moment. Or was she just distracted listening to us all day? Who knows? I’m not saying Google isn’t “monitoring” our every move, but at least it can find the music I’m requesting 98% of the time.
And oh yes, has yet to prompt my kids to order random shit off the interweb.