Young Children Ask Alexa for Toys. Guess Who Pays

Parents find out the hard way that you don't need to spell to order
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2019 12:00 PM CST
Young Children Ask Alexa for Toys. Guess Who Pays
Characters perform during Paw Patrol Live! "The Great Pirate Adventure" at Five Flags Center in Iowa.   (Jessica Reilly/Telegraph Herald via AP)

Children too young to spell are finding Alexa to be more efficient than Santa Claus: They're asking her to find the items on their wish lists and tapping "buy" on their parents' devices. That means moms and dads now have to find ways to block the little hackers. One woman discovered the issue when she received texts from Amazon telling her that more than two dozen "Paw Patrol" toys were headed to her house, the Wall Street Journal reports. "It was one after another," she said. She had let her 4-year-old son play with her iPad that morning; he tapped the microphone icon in the Amazon app, said "Paw Patrol," and started adding items to the shopping cart.

By the time his mother was texted, it was too late to cancel the shipments. "Boxes and boxes arrived," she said. "He was jumping up and down with excitement." At a home near Detroit, a woman was baffled when a driver dropped off a Barbie Dreamhouse, PJ Masks figurines, and dolls, per the New York Post. "Who sent all these great gifts?" she said she wondered, according to her Facebook post. Her 6-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son had asked Alexa for the presents, to the tune of $400. "They ordered their own Christmas!" their mother wrote. There are steps parents can take to prevent the self-gifting; the Journal discusses them here. (More Alexa stories.)

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