A concerned mother issued a warning after Amazon’s Alexa told her daughter to try a potentially lethal online challenge.
As Kristin Livdahl wrote on social media per CNN, her 10-year-old daughter was playing with the AI device and asked it to give her a challenge.
OMFG My 10 year old just asked Alexa on our Echo for a challenge and this is what she said. pic.twitter.com/HgGgrLbdS8— Kristin Livdahl (@klivdahl) December 26, 2021
“My 10 year old just asked Alexa on our Echo for a challenge and this is what she said,” she tweeted on Sunday. “Here’s something I found on the web. According to ourcommunitynow.com: The challenge is simple: plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet. Then touch a penny to the exposed prongs.”
Luckily, the child did not attempt the challenge. But her mother thought other parents should be aware of the issue.
In a follow-up post, Livdahl clarified that her daughter was not looking for a dangerous social media trend that influencers use to get likes and clicks. Instead, she was trying to find indoor exercises.
“We were doing some physical challenges, like laying down and rolling over holding a shoe on your foot, from a Phy Ed teacher on YouTube earlier,” she tweeted. “Bad weather outside. She just wanted another one.”
Immediately following Livdahl’s post, the topic went viral as many concerned parents were worried about how their own children could have responded. And it caught the attention of Amazon.
Amazon Assures Customers that Alexa Will No Longer Give Dangerous ‘Challenge’ Suggestions
Today, a spokesperson with the company assured parents that the issue has been fixed and their device will no longer give children dangerous advice.
“Customer trust is at the center of everything we do and Alexa is designed to provide accurate, relevant, and helpful information to customers,” they said in a statement. “As soon as we became aware of this error, we quickly fixed it, and will continue to advance our systems to help prevent similar responses in the future.”
Alexa’s suggestion came from a troubling TikTok trend called the Penny Challenge that has been plaguing the internet since 2020.
And organizations, such as the Povo Fire Department, have been trying to smash the trend since it began.
“You may have heard of the TikTok experiment involving a cell phone charger, a coin, and an outlet,” Captain Brian Tanner said in a video posted in Jan. 2020. “I’m telling you this is dangerous stuff, don’t do it.”
As the video states, some people who are willing to try the challenge may only see or feel some sparks. But in reality, the experiment could likely cause houses to burn down, or worse, it could end in death.