Update (April 2018): Since this article was written, we're happy to say that, Amazon at least, seems to have taken pretty seriously the idea that Alexa doing everything your child shouts at it without a please or thank you might not be best form when it comes to teaching manners.


And so, from May 9, they'll be introducing a feature where Alexa will only respond if your little one offers a please or thank you.

It will even reinforce their good manners with a response along the lines of: "By the way, thanks for asking so nicely.”

As for Siri? watch this space....

'Demand what you want you'll get it'

"Play Careless Whisper. PLAY WAKE ME UP BEFORE YOU GO GO." This was my 6-year-old daughter (on repeat) for about 3 hours on Christmas Day after I gave my husband an Alexa.

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Yep, it took her all of 3 seconds to realise she could get this handy little digital assistant to play every George Michael song under the sun at her every whim.

Alexa was soon relegated to under the bed and swiftly eBayed days later as we just couldn't get our little girl to stop requesting the same songs over and OVER again in that shouty manner that requires no please or thank you.

After all, Alexa will do what you want whether you ask politely or not, so why bother with the niceties? ?

And therein lies the rub. A new survey from the Childwise agency has suggested gadgets like the Amazon Alexa and iPhone's Siri are teaching our kids bad manners: they ask for no please or thank you, or even that you make your request in a polite tone of voice. Demand what you want and you'll get it.

“Will children become accustomed to saying and doing whatever they want to a digital assistant? 'Do this, do that’ – talking as aggressively or rudely as they like without any consequences?" says Simon Leggett, director of the research.

"Will they then start doing the same to shop assistants or teachers?”

Hmmmm - does he have a point? If Siri and Alexa give you what you want without having to be polite, will the manners get dropped, especially in younger kids who are only just learning about sociability in the first place?

I want to say here that my daughter is a VERY good please-er and thank you-er to HUMANS 99.9% of the time.

And while we did ditch Alexa in a heartbeat it was because we couldn't bear hearing any more Wham! rather than any heartfelt worry she might be losing her courteousness – but could these techy tools really be causing more harm than we might think?

What do you reckon?

Do you agree with this research that digital assistants like Alexa and Siri are teaching our kids bad manners?

Or do you think it's stretching things a bit? After all, kids know to speak to people differently from gadgets, right?

Tell us in the comments below or over on Facebook

Pic: Getty

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Tara BreathnachContent Editor and Social Media Producer

Tara is mum to 1 daughter, Bodhi Rae, and has worked as Content Editor and Social Media Producer at MadeForMums since 2015