We teach our kids to ask for something “nicely,” with a please at the beginning and a thank you at the end. We teach them to be polite to neighbours and cashiers and restaurant servers. To hold open doors and say “excuse me” when they burp.
And then we let them bark out commands to Alexa in a way that can be described as curt at best and downright rude at worst. But now, some of our “smart” voice assistants, including Google Assistant and Alexa, will be nice to us—if we are nice to them.
To improve your relationship with Google Assistant, start with a little “please” and “thank you”:
If, for example, you say, “Hey Google, please set a timer for 10 minutes,” Google Assistant will respond “Thanks for asking so nicely! 10 minutes, starting now.”
To be clear: It’s totally optional. Prefer to be curt? That’s ok — Assistant won’t chastise you. But if these are habits you’re trying to instill in a little one or polish up yourself, Assistant will respond in kind.
Likewise, Alexa will show appreciation for the extra effort that good manners require:
The politeness feature - which has been branded Magic Word - encourages children to say: “Please,” and: “Thank you,” by acknowledging use of the terms.
So, for example, if the child asks: “What will the weather be today please?” Alexa will add to its response: “Thanks for asking so nicely.”
Likewise, once Alexa has completed a task, if the child says: “Thank you,” it will prompt one of several follow-ups, including “No worries,” and “You’re welcome.”
Sure, the voice assistants will still respond if you ask for something in a less-than-mannerly way; but now that you know they appreciate politeness, it won’t feel as good. An additional benefit for your kids: Positive reinforcement. It doesn’t hurt to have another “person” in your child’s life encouraging those good manners.