Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Creepy Barbie

I recently heard about this story, “Talking Barbie is too 'creepy' for some parents” and couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

"Hello Barbie" uses speech recognition and connects to Wi-Fi. When someone presses a button on her belt buckle, Barbie will record what you say and send it it up to the cloud. It's saved, so Barbie keeps learning more and more about you, in order to inform her responses.

I just think this is bad on so many levels. When my children were little I didn’t let them talk to strangers. Talking to Barbie that connects to a real stranger is scary to me. Parents don’t know anything about the person who is getting this information. Who does a background check on that person? What kind of person is this?

Plus, if the child’s voice is recorded, there is a strong possibility of it recording background information also. Suppose the parents are giving their credit card number over the phone and Barbie records this? Information could be recorded and a stranger receiving that could do anything with it.

I believe we are giving children the idea that it is safe to talk to strangers. If they think it is safe to talk to Barbie, what is wrong with talking to others?

I think parents should think really carefully before getting this for their child. I would not recommend getting this for any child. But I do think this conversation would be great to share with others on how something that looks innocent might not really be innocent.

What do you think? Do you think this Barbie is safe? Would you buy it for your child? Why or why not?

Image: 'Happy Holiday Barbie 1992' 
Found on flickrcc.net

1 comment:

John Romig said...

I have never heard of this, but that sounds like a terrible idea! I can't imagine the threats to safety and privacy of anyone ever hacked into that cloud system.