UK Backlash against Amazon Alexa: Toddlers Don’t Know What a Book Is

Last week #Channel4, the independent public broadcaster alternative to the #BBC in the UK, released a breaking news story about toddlers in #Britain “not knowing what a book was”.

Worse still, according to a survey conducted with pre-school teachers in GB, many of these #DigitalNatives were “trying to swipe the pages” of kids’ books at school.

They say this is because many of them are being “read to by #Amazon Alexa at night instead of their parents reading them bedtime stories”.

I couldn’t find the Channel 4 video reportage but the story was taken up by The Daily Mail as you can read here… Good luck Alexa, I guess if you dominate the market, you get the lion’s share of the blame too when things go wrong socially :(

AI Virtual Assistants “replacing parents” had already made headlines in the #DailyMail in May 2019, which then followed up the issue by reporting on the Channel 4 feature in September this year….

  • Time-poor parents are increasingly relying on electronic home assistants
  • Just over 31 per cent said work or commuting stops them getting home in time
  • Survey of parents of children under ten found only third read to them each night

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER PUBLISHED: 00:47, 23 May 2019 | UPDATED: 04:36, 23 May 2019

Reception teachers have children starting school not knowing how to use books

One teacher even claimed more than half their intake cannot speak in sentences

Another claimed that children now go to sleep after Alexa reads them a story

Children are being read bedtime stories by Alexa and are starting school unable to speak in sentences, teachers warn.

A survey found that families are relying on the virtual assistant to entertain their children — while some four and five-year-olds try to ‘swipe’ books as they are so addicted to mobile phones.

The findings were revealed in a poll of 100 reception teachers about pupils who started school this month.

One teacher said more than half their intake ‘cannot speak in sentences or be reliably understood by adults’. Another told researchers many children ‘now go to sleep with a story from Alexa rather than a parent’ [File photo]

Eighty-two per cent said ‘increasing numbers of children aren’t adequately prepared to start school’.

The same proportion claim there are more speech and language issues than five years ago.

One teacher said more than half their intake ‘cannot speak in sentences or be reliably understood by adults’.

Some 72 per cent of those surveyed have at least one child in their class who has ‘no idea’ how to use a book.

Daily Mail headlines By PUBLISHED: 00:51, 20 September 2019 | SARAH HARRIS FOR THE DAILY MAIL

Originally published at



Tania Peitzker: New Tech / AI Strategist & Author

Visit the Peitzker Prizes @ for the link to my Spotify podcast "Innovations Solving the Climate Crisis". See also