By: Krystle Crossman
Mattel has seen a big dip in sales recently. They are looking to boost their revenue in the 2015 holiday season by coming out with a new Barbie that every little girl is going to want. The problem is that there are a lot of parents that are petitioning for this Barbie to never hit the shelves. They say it is creepy. Others are very uncomfortable with the level of technology that is involved with this doll. Her name is Hello Barbie and as of right now she is slated to hit the shelves before Christmas of this year. The retail price will be around $74.99.
Hello Barbie has speech recognition technology. She listens to your child when they push a button and talk to the doll. From there the voice is recorded, sent up to the “cloud” (information database), and it is stored there so that the doll can “learn” what your child’s likes and dislikes are. The children can have interactive conversations with the doll as she then speaks back once it has figured out what they are saying. For example if the child asks the Barbie what they should do this weekend the doll will use the wi-fi chip that it has, gather the previous information from the database and tell the child what they should do based on what they have said before. If they have talked about horses the doll may suggest that they go horseback riding or visit a farm.
While this may seem like every little girl’s dream it is turning into a parental nightmare. Many are worried about the information that is stored in the cloud database and who will be able to have access to it. Do you know what your kids say when they are playing? They could be giving out personal information which is then sent to an unknown location. Mattel states that the database is very safe and has all of the protection measures necessary to keep unauthorized users out. They also state that they are following government standards with online safety and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Who is listening to these conversations that your kids are having with this doll? It is hard to be sure and that is one of the reasons that parents are trying to keep this toy off of the shelves and out of the hands of their children.