Mum forced to change daughter’s name from Alexa after ‘devastating’ bullying

A mum was forced to change her daughter's name from Alexa due to "relentless" bullying.

She and other parents are now calling on Amazon to change the "wake-up" work for its device in the wake of the bullying.

The name has taken on a new meaning in recent years as the popular Amazon Echo and Echo Dot use it as an activation word in their speakers.

The smart speaker is activated by saying the name Alexa before giving an instruction, like playing music or calling a contact.

But the system has caused a lot of grief for people who are named Alexa, as they are often bombarded with people shouting their name before issuing a command or order to them.

The daughter of Heather, which is not her real name, is called Alexa and says she has been on the receiving end of this bullying from fellow children and even from her teachers.

Heather told the BBC: "She started to not want to introduce herself because of the jokes and the backlash. She was and still is a child, yet adults thought it was OK to make a joke of her.

“It's devastating. The school was unhelpful and told her she needed to build resilience.”

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The toll was so great that Alexa was forced to move school because of the relentless abuse she faced.

"She's in a much better place now. We have cut off friends and moved her to a new school to allow a fresh start. The injustice will never leave her, or us.

“Amazon must change the default wake word on its devices. There was clearly not enough ethical research into using Alexa.”

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A spokesperson for Amazon said: "We designed our voice assistant to reflect qualities we value in people – being smart, considerate, empathetic, and inclusive.

"We're saddened by the experiences you've shared, and want to be very clear: bullying of any kind is unacceptable, and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms."

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