Google Assistant updates make it more kid-friendly

Google Assistant building with colorful slides.

Image: Google

When you welcome a voice assistant into your home, it becomes part of the entire household’s ecosystem, including your little ones. Today, Google has optimized its Google Assistant to respond more to the needs of your children.

Children are very observant and bright by nature, so it won’t be long before they realize that they can ask their handy Google Assistant any question in the world and get answers to all their biggest curiosities.

This much unlimited access to information can be very useful in feeding their hunger for knowledge and helping them learn about the world around them.

However, if left unchecked, it could lead to your children accessing information that, as a parent, you didn’t quite want them to learn.

Therefore, Google is now unveiling parental controls for Google Assistant.

Also: The best voice assistant

“As a mom, I see firsthand how children’s relationship with technology begins with discovering the power of their own voice,” said Sissie Hsiao, Vice President of Google Assistant. “And as today’s kids grow up in a world surrounded by technology, we want to help them have safer, more educational and natural conversational experiences with Assistant.”

In the coming weeks, parents will have the ability to modify media settings, enable or disable certain Assistant features, and set a timeout for their children through the Google Home, Family Link, and Google Assistant apps on Android and iOS, according to a blog post.

With parental control, parents can choose the music and video providers their children can access, decide whether the children can access news or podcasts, and most importantly, restrict them from certain actions, such as phone calls. The updates also include control over what responses your children receive from Assistant.

Another new feature coming to the Google Assistant is Kids Dictionary. When this setting is enabled, if your child asks how to define a word and the Assistant detects their voice, it will respond in a fun, kid-friendly way.

For the Assistant to detect your child’s voice, all you have to do as a parent is use the Family Link or Google Home app and add the child’s voice to the device.

Google Assistant children's dictionary on a table.


Finally, four new kid-friendly voices are coming to the Assistant. These new voices were designed together with children and parents and have a diverse range of accents to reflect different communities. For example, some voices are slower and more expressive to help children with understanding.

Also: How to enable Google Assistant quick phrases on your Pixel phone to save time

Google is not the first to introduce parental controls to a voice assistant. Amazon has had parental control options for its speakers since 2018, first called FreeTime and later renamed Amazon Kids.

With Amazon Kids, parents have access to the Amazon Parent Dashboard, which allows them to create profiles for their children and turn off Alexa functions, filter inappropriate content, set time limits and review your child’s activity.

In addition to working with parental controls, Alexa can also interact with kids in clever ways like telling jokes, answering homework, and using kid-friendly dialogue.


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