Worried that bossing around voice assistants is teaching your kid to be rude? Alexa will soon be able to help.

A new Echo feature called “Magic Word” requests that children use the word “please” when asking Alexa for something. Alexa will also offer positive reinforcement when kids actually use the word.

Here’s Mike Murphy, writing for Quartz:

This addresses a concern that many parents have had with Echo. They’ve felt the devices have been conditioning their kids to be rude by not asking the assistant questions politely, instead incessantly barking at a disembodied female voice and implicitly learning that that’s an acceptable way to act towards people.

I think most kids are smart enough to know the difference between a talking speaker and a fellow human, but I also kind of see the point here. If nothing else a feature like this could help build a positive habit—one that might transfer to interactions with actual humans.

I’d be pretty annoyed if someone enabled this feature on a device I’m using, though. If nothing else this has great prank potential.

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Justin Pot has been writing about technology for over a decade, with work appearing in Digital Trends, The Next Web, Lifehacker, MakeUseOf, and the Zapier Blog. He also runs the Hillsboro Signal, a volunteer-driven local news outlet he founded.
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