The shocking truth behind ‘Hello Barbie’

“A microphone records little girls’ private conversations”

Content Editor / August 14 2018

Barbie has had a makeover, and despite toymaker Mattel saying that they are responding to little girls’ desire’s to ‘have a conversation with Barbie’, the reality is much darker.

Barefoot Investor Scott Pape sent an email to his subscribers warning them of the reality behind the new doll.

The new Hello Barbie has had a technological upgrade and can listen and respond to your child’s conversations. But these conversations are far from private, according to Susan Linn from Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

“A microphone records little girls’ private conversations. It transmits those conversations to cloud servers where they are analysed by algorithms and are listened to by employees of Mattel and its technology partner, Toy Talk, and they are shared with unnamed third parties.”

“Hello Barbie asks many questions that would elicit information about a child, her interests and her family, which could be of great value to advertisers”, says Angela Campbell, director of communication at Georgetown Law School.

Some of the questions include ‘What’s your favourite restaurant?’ ‘Are there any babies in your family right now?’ and ‘What’s your name?’

“We need to protect our vulnerable little children from a conglomerate that is openly spying on them,” Scott writes.

“Some of the fastest-selling tech gadgets on the planet right now are Amazon Alexa and Google Home ‒ voice-activated speakers that are constantly listening in on our conversations. Oh, and then there’s the cute-looking Alexa Alarm Clock, which has an in-built camera and microphone … in your bedroom?!

“We’re all being played like toys by big tech conglomerates.”

Best to leave Hello Barbie on the shelf. What do you think?

Nicola Conville has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years across a wide range of print and online publications. Her areas of expertise are parenting, health and travel. She has two children; Lucy, age eight, and Nathan, age five.