VOICE assistants Siri and Alexa are making children rude and antisocial, scientists fear.
Youngsters are not taught to say please and thank you, nor how to read body language.
Cambridge University’s Dr Anmol Arora warned: “Interacting with the devices at a crucial stage in social and emotional development might have long-term consequences on empathy, compassion and critical thinking.”
Writing in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, he added: “With digital devices there is no expectation that polite terms, such as please or thank you should be used.
“There is no need to consider the tone of voice and whether the command being issued may be interpreted as rude or obnoxious.”
But Prof Pete Etchells, a psychologist at Bath Spa University, said: “There is no evidence I am aware of to support the idea such devices have a negative impact on development.”
A spokesperson for Amazon said: “Alexa is designed to provide accurate and helpful information.
“Our Amazon Kids service on Alexa provides parental controls which help parents manage the ways their children interact with technology and serves age-appropriate content.
“We also offer polite mode which encourages children to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when speaking to Alexa.”