More and more parents are turning to electronic devices like ‘Alexa’ and Google home to read their children bedtime stories.

Children’s charity BookTrust said time-poor parents are increasingly relying on mobile phone apps and electronic home assistants – ‘smart’ speakers that respond to human voices – to carry out the task.

The survey of parents with children under ten years old found that, while almost half aim to read their youngsters a story every night, only a third do so.

Just over 31 per cent said work or commuting stops them getting home in time, while 20 per cent are simply ‘too busy’.

Just over a quarter said they use virtual assistants – such as Amazon’s Alexa – and other technology for bedtime stories.

Some 53 per cent said they would choose to use pre-recorded stories using apps on smartphones and tablets, or on video-sharing website YouTube instead.

Gemma Malley, BookTrust director, added: “Life has never been busier and many parents are finding it harder and harder to fit in bedtime stories.

“I know from experience that it can be tempting to replace reading to your child with time on a device, but swapping books for tech can have profound consequences.

“However, just 10 minutes of reading a book together a day makes such a difference – it helps build children’s language, resilience, confidence and imagination and is an amazing way for families to bond.”

Mums are not happy!

We asked our mums what they thought about using smart devices to read to children and they were astounded at the idea.

Kelly said, ” I don’t like that idea. Snuggling up with my two year old at night and reading a story with them is not only beneficial for him, it is for me too. Bonding, laughing and learning together. They won’t be Little for long so enjoy every second of it. Before you know it they won’t want to read books or have you tell them a story and you’ll wish you did.”

Yolandi said, “So sad when you cant even do that yourself? Story time is one of ur favorite activities since my daughter was born, we will never be too busy for story time.”

Kate shared, “May as well just put them in front of the tv!”

Another mum questioned, “Where’s the love and affection? Story time is a bonding time. I learn so much about my son during these special times. I think they are a good idea for maybe researching a topic together but technology should never replace a parent.”

Meanwhile some mums actually relished the idea, especially for older children.

“Hmm well I guess it’s the same as an audio book which my 10 year old listens to at bedtime? But he likes to fall asleep to a story and I would legit be in there for hours if I had to read him to sleep. I still read my younger kids a quick 15 minute book before bed though.”

Another agreed, “My 10 yr old uses google to read him a book or play him relaxing sounds at bed time.”

What do you think?

Share your comments below

 


  • I think it’s a bit sad to use a device for this.

    Reply


  • My daugter loves our story times and she often picks it herself. I never say no to her no mater what time of day

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  • I don’t like this trend.
    Reading with my daughter when she was young, was our favourite time. During the day and before bed. In the evening it was one night me, one night my husband. I think that it helped a lot. And the reason why now that our daughter, 16, still loves reading any chance she gets.

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  • We get our google home to play lullabies but I would much rather us read a book together!

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  • Not a good development.
    Quality time with our kids is so important and bedtime stories is a great opportunity to do give them attention.
    Using a device deprives our children from quality time and snuggling up together.

    Reply


  • I think it is really sad, what next…


    • It makes me feel sad too – story telling and reading is such a wonderful and expressive time.

    Reply


  • I think it’s shocking. There is so much learning that occurs during reading to one’s child. The language alone, learning that print reads left to right, letters, punctuation, the list goes on. So much is being lost if solely a machine is reading to one’s child, let alone the bonding time. Teachers can’t teach everything, learning needs to be supported at home. After all, “There’s no app to replace your lap!”

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  • I do both. We read two books before bed and then Alexa reads the rabbit that couldn’t fall asleep which is a book that’s helps children fall asleep alone. I struggle getting my daughter to sleep in her own bed and this is the only thing that works.

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  • That is epically sad! Some not making it home in time, some just not wanting to. As a child who had both instances I never had a love of reading, nor could actually read till I was around 8 yrs old. Thus, Miss 5 and Mr 3 get a bedtime story 98% of the time. We read to them and then they read to us. Miss 5 can read, Mr 3 can read around 40 odd words so either remembers the story or makes up his own as he turns the pages. They love their story time with us.

    Reply


  • I wouldn’t outsource but I love reading so it’s not so much a chore for me.

    Reply


  • it will never replace a parent reading – however any reading is benefit for children

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  • I didn’t realise the devices are capable of that. I don’t know too much about them. I like the idea of relaxing sounds at bed time.

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  • I think on occasion it’s fine. Maybe for me, i wouldn’t do it at night time as us reading to them is part of the bed time process. But during the day it could be great for entertaining them

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  • That’s just lazy! That used to be one of my favourite times of day, reading the bedtime story. Then when the kids were old enough, we took it in turns reading to each other

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  • When I was a kid mum always put a story tape on for me to listen to as I went to sleep. I really enjoyed it, but also did heaps of reading at other times so I don’t think it really made any difference to me back then.

    Reply

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