Young kids use smart speakers daily

Despite ongoing privacy concerns, a new study from Common Sense and SurveyMonkey found 50% of kids use their devices at least once a day.
March 28, 2019

New data from Common Sense and SurveyMonkey found that most kids talk to smart speakers daily.

According to the survey, more than 40% of parents with kids ages two to eight say their families use a smart speaker, like Amazon Echo or Google Home, and nearly 60% say their young children interact with a voice-activated assistant like Siri or Alexa. Of the kids using smart speakers, 50% interact with them at least once a day. Nearly half of those kids use smart speakers to play music, while others use speakers to get information (12%), to talk or fool around (12%) or to hear jokes (10%).

For parents of kids ages six to eight, 43% reported their children use voice-activated assistants to help with homework. And 29% of all parents surveyed said smart speakers are “extremely” or “very” helpful in accomplishing parenting tasks like making grocery lists, answering children’s questions or setting reminders.

In fact, smart speakers are so popular with children, techcos are launching kid-specific versions. Amazon’s Echo Dot Kids Edition (pictured), for example, includes access to more than 300 audible kids books, ad-free radio stations and a kid-friendly case. The device took home the prize for Best Hardware at the 2019 KAPi Awards.

Big brands like Nickelodeon (SpongeBob Challenge for Alexa) and BBC (Go Jetters Glitchy Facts for Amazon Echo) have also seen significant success with skills or games designed for smart speakers. In 2018, Nickelodeon reported players returned to the SpongeBob Challenge game five times per month on average.

But privacy concerns continue to surround smart speakers: 58% of parents believe it’s at least moderately likely someone could hack their smart speakers and listen to their conversations. In fact, 40% of parents turn off the device’s microphone to prevent it from listening.

Nine in 10 parents surveyed reported that it’s important to control what information is collected about them, while 88% believe it’s important to control whether their family’s voice data is being used to deliver targeted ads. And while a third of parents would like to take steps to limit the data being collected by voice-activated assistants, they reported not knowing how.

The study was conducted in February and surveyed 1,127 parents of children ages two to eight in the US.

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