What the Tech: Alexa spoils Christmas

What the Tech

When I was a kid, my sister was known to sneak under the tree when everybody else had gone to bed to snoop on her presents. She’d find a gift with her name on it, unwrap it carefully, take a look inside, and then tape everything back together and put it back under the tree.

These days, kids don’t have to take that much effort. They can just ask Alexa.

Amazon’s Echo devices are in practically every home of every Amazon shopper in America. If you order anything from Amazon, the Alexa device will keep you posted on any shipping updates.

You can simply ask “Alexa, where’s my stuff?” and she’ll give you the details of what’s arriving and when to expect it. Amazon made a move a few years ago to prevent Alexa devices from spoiling any surprises, but many people still have an option turned on so that Alexa will say and even show what’s inside the package.

Using Echo Dots and the original Echo device, Alexa might tell you what’s in the package that’s arriving. On Echo Show models, the ones with screens, Alexa will tell you and show you a photo of the item.

All a kid has to do is ask “Where’s my stuff?” or “What’s arriving today?”. And kids know this. They’ve seen and heard us all ask Alexa for just about anything.

If you’ve got some surprises on the way, you might want to take a look inside the Alexa app to make sure it doesn’t spoil any Christmas surprises.

In the Alexa app, go to settings and then notifications. Near the top will be Amazon Shopping. Once you tap that option, you’ll see where to turn off delivery notifications. The section you want to pay attention to is the option at the top that says “Say or Show Item Titles”. Make sure those blue toggles are cleared to the left in the off position.

Alexa will still send notifications, but will not leak what’s in the packages.

Delivery notifications are useful though, especially if you’re not home when packages arrive, so leave those “Delivery Notifications” turned on for “Out for Delivery” and “Delivered”. Otherwise, you’ll get no updates at all.

You can always check on the status of your orders in the Amazon app. Remember, kids are smart enough to use Alexa and Amazon, and if you loan them your phone, computer or tablet, they can quickly see what’s on its way.

It’s a lot easier than sneaking under the tree while everyone’s asleep.

Find more What the Tech here.

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