SAN FRANCISCO, March 28, 2019—Almost half of American families surveyed have a new roommate, and parents who have invited her in now worry she's listening—and taking notes.
Whether it's Amazon's Echo or Google Home, Siri or Alexa, smart speakers and voice-activated assistants are now in our kitchens, bedrooms, and play areas and are creating new concerns about privacy. According to a survey released today from Common Sense and SurveyMonkey, more than four in 10 parents of children age 2 to 8 say their families use a smart speaker such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home, and nearly six in 10 say their young children interact with a voice-activated assistant such as Siri or Alexa. A clear, common undercurrent from the findings is concern: Almost all parents worry about the devices' privacy settings and what can happen to the data that is being collected. (For real-world reasons parents should care about privacy, see below.*)
This latest survey is part of a Common Sense partnership with SurveyMonkey to examine media and technology trends affecting kids and their parents and to share actionable data and insights for families.
Key findings include:
"This report is a clarion call for tech companies and privacy regulators that as these devices are brought into the home, there's nearly unanimous concern about privacy," said James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense. "After all, voice-activated devices collect and store untold amounts of data, and it's unclear what the companies do with the extraneous noise they pick up. Until privacy regulations are worked out, parents should turn off their home assistant's microphone when they're not using it and do regular privacy checks to maintain their comfort level with these devices."
"Our study pinpoints privacy as a major concern among consumers who use smart speakers, particularly among parents of young children," said Jon Cohen, chief research officer at SurveyMonkey. "As voice-activated assistants are incorporated more fully into family life, brands need to carefully balance these widespread privacy concerns with their relentless build-out of ever-more-advanced features that promise value, convenience, and plain-old fun."
About Common Sense
Common Sense is the nation's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in the 21st century. Learn more at commonsense.org.
Founded in 1999, SurveyMonkey changed the way people gather feedback by making it easy for anyone to create their own online surveys. Our mission is to power curious individuals and organizations around the globe to measure, benchmark, and act on the opinions that drive success. Our People Powered Data platform enables organizations of any size to have conversations at scale to deliver impactful customer, employee, and market insights. Our more than 850 employees are dedicated to fueling the curiosity of over 17.5 million active users globally.