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Freedom and Privacy Life Skills Parenting Technology

Question the Magic (QTM): Hello Barbie

Thanks to my usual homeboys for forwarding this one.  It’s simply…. MAGIC!

HELLO BARBIE which costs a mere… oh…. HUNDRED BUCKS, will also, for that small fee, spy on your children (and you as a bonus) and report its findings to an unidentified source for not-fully-disclosed purposes.

The Magic

Your kid speaks to Barbie and Barbie comes back with one of EIGHT THOUSAND possible lines.  That size vocabulary seems like ‘magic’.  To kids, even more so.

The Smoke.  The Mirrors. (new section)

Your kid’s voice (and yours if you spend any time with your kid which you will likely no longer have to do once they get this bad-boy) is ‘magically’ whisked away through your wifi connection, to a server that is not yours, where it is torn apart, analysed and then matched to a good response.  The good response is sent back to Barbie who ‘magically’ speaks it to your kid.

The Risks

Your kids voice is leaving your house and going into the hands of a bunch of people you don’t know.  Entire conversations could be recorded and analysed by unknown groups of people with unknown motives.  You put your own child at risk, you put at risk the children who hang out with your child, and you put at risk anyone within earshot of Hello Barbie’s ‘magic’.

The Solution

By your child a gift without a battery or internet connection this year, or, better yet, don’t buy them anything at all and take the money you were going to spend on them and go for a nice meal out, look in their eyes, and tell them how much you love them.

Hello Barbie won’t cry about it.

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