A terrified mother has recounted the moment her smart speaker told her 10-year-old child to take part in a potentially deadly viral challenge.
Due to bad weather outside, Kristin Livdahl had had some “physical challenges” with her daughter “like lying down and toppling over with a shoe on her foot”. BBC reported.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: How a viral craze triggered a serious warning
When her daughter asked for another challenge, the Echo speaker came up – and Alexa suggested a challenge it had “found online”.
The “simple” challenge chosen by Alexa was, in fact, a deadly viral game that involved putting a plug halfway into an electrical outlet and touching a coin to the bare tips.
In Britain, the daring is known as the “penny challenge”. It reportedly started circulating on social media about a year ago.
“OMFG My 10-year-old has just asked Alexa on our Echo about a challenge, and that’s what she said,” the horrified mother wrote on Twitter after the incident.
That BBC reported that Kristin intervened and shouted “No, Alexa, no!” but that her daughter was in any case “too clever to do such a thing.”
In a statement to the BBC, Amazon said the company had taken swift action to resolve the issue “as soon as we became aware of this error”.
“Customer trust is at the heart of everything we do, and Alexa is designed to provide accurate, relevant and useful information to customers.”
The challenge itself came to light in 2020 – which gave warnings from the authorities.
In January 2020, two teenagers in Massachusetts were charged after eight electrical outlets at their high school in Hanson were short-circuited as part of a craze on social media.
Two boys aged 15 and 16 were charged with carrying out the challenge at Whitman-Hanson Regional High School. They were accused of attempting to burn a public building and malicious destruction of public property.
“This is not just a harmless joke that children make,” Hanson Police Chief Michael Miksch said in a statement at the time.
“If you cause an electrical outlet to short circuit in this way, it could cause serious damage and potentially start a fire. Not to mention the damage it can do to a building’s electrical system, along with damage of hundreds or thousands of dollars. . “