“Google Assistant is launching new features — parental controls, kid-friendly voices, and a kids dictionary — to help children have safer, age-appropriate conversations.“
Earlier this week, you found yourself in the kitchen, observing your kids, aged seven and 11, deeply engrossed in a conversation with your Google Assistant. Your son, who had recently developed a penchant for karaoke, eagerly requested it to play music, allowing him to sing along with his favorite band, BTS. In your household, your kids frequently turn to the Google Assistant for answers to their inquisitive queries, be it about the height of the Eiffel Tower, the weight of elephants, or the historical significance of the Declaration of Independence.
In this fast-paced world, voice technology is becoming increasingly essential in how you and your family accomplish tasks. It’s not just you, but your children as well, who rely on it for a wide array of purposes. It opens doors for them to explore their interests, learn new things, and engage their creative and curious minds, all without having to fixate on a screen. As a parent, you’ve witnessed firsthand how your kids’ interaction with technology begins by realizing the power of their own voice.
Living in a world where technology surrounds today’s children, you understandably want them to have safer, educational, and natural conversational experiences with Assistant. Here’s how Google is making that happen:
Parental controls for a safer, age-appropriate experience: Google acknowledges that children often share family devices, which brings the responsibility of ensuring they’re protected from harmful or inappropriate content. In light of this, Google is rolling out new features to make it safer for your kids to interact with Assistant.
In the coming weeks, you can access parental controls for Google Assistant through the Google Home, Family Link, and Google Assistant apps on Android and iOS. This feature empowers you to modify media settings, enable or disable specific Assistant functions, and even set up downtime for your children.
You can select your child’s account and customize the music and video providers they have access to, including YouTube Kids, YouTube, and YouTube Music. Your children will only be able to explore content from these pre-approved sources. You also have the option to control whether your kids can listen to news and podcasts on their devices.
Parental controls extend to Assistant features, allowing you to restrict things like phone calls and determine the type of answers your kids receive from Assistant. To encourage a healthy balance between kids and technology, you can set device usage schedules, similar to what you can do on personal Android devices and Chromebooks. Whether you enable parental controls or not, Google ensures you’re always in control of your privacy settings.
Educational and engaging conversations with Kids Dictionary: Google recognizes that kids are naturally curious and often turn to Assistant for definitions. To enhance these interactions, they’ve introduced Kids Dictionary. It provides simplified, age-appropriate answers across speakers, smart displays, and mobile devices.
With Kids Dictionary, your child’s interactions with the Assistant can be both educational and fun, helping them explore their interests and expand their knowledge. When your child is voice-matched on a speaker or smart display and asks for a definition, the Assistant will respond using this kid-friendly dictionary.
Whether your child needs help with homework or is simply curious about a new word from a book, they’re just a “Hey Google” away from getting the assistance they need.
Kid-friendly voices for more engaging interactions: Recognizing that kids today grow up with technology, Google has put a focus on ensuring their experiences are developmentally appropriate. They’re introducing four new kid-friendly voices, designed in collaboration with kids and parents. These voices feature a diverse range of accents, reflecting different communities and speech styles. These voices also speak more slowly and expressively, making storytelling and comprehension easier for kids.
To activate one of these new voices, kids can simply say, “Hey Google, change your voice!” Parents can also assist their children in navigating to Assistant settings to select a new voice from the available options.
As a parent, you’re always amazed by your kids’ insatiable curiosity. Every day, you witness their curiosity come to life through the myriad questions they ask your Assistant. Google is excited to not only provide a safer experience but also an educational and engaging one. Their commitment is to continue working towards building an Assistant that caters to everyone’s needs.