Should you be polite to your digital assistants?

Caroline Allen
Contributor
Experts have debated whether not saying please or thank you to digital assistants is causing children to be bad-mannered. [Photo: Getty]

A recent study discovered that adults who don’t say please or thank you to their digital assistants are not more likely to be rude to people in real life.

But, do the same rules apply for children?

The question, which was posed on Good Morning Britain, brought to light some parental concerns around the way people talk to their digital devices.

Google and Amazon have already announced adjustments to their digital assistants, which now compliment children who make requests politely.

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Parents debated the topic, with many taking opposing stances on the issue.

A lot of adults involved in the conversation said they habitually say thank you to their devices, whether that be Siri, Alexa or Google Home.

“I always say Please and Thank You to Siri in the house and in the car. I find it so hard not to. I keep hearing my Mum’s voice telling me to be polite.” One person wrote.

This doesn’t necessarily transcend generations, though, with one tweeter commenting on how children need to be taught good manners from a young age.

“Some children have zero manners now. We should not need to keep reminding them to say please and thank you. It should be taught by parents when they’re toddlers.”

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Not everybody agreed with the premise that it was important for children to say please and thank you to “the internet”.

One man wrote: “I have manners, but come on FFS responding to the internet in the same way. I just don’t know what is coming next in this society.”

Yahoo Lifestyle spoke to primary school teacher, who said that she’d noticed children were “a lot less polite” since digital assistants gained popularity.

Mrs Austin, who teaches year 5 pupils, said: “There are some children in my class who have never said please or thank you. Basic manners in the house make all the difference and treating the digital assistant with lack of respect will naturally run off on other areas of your life.”

With critics arguing voice-activated devices are making children less polite, journalist, Mariella Frostup, doesn’t think there’s any harm in practising good manners around your devices in “the same way you would a teacher or a parent”.

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