Parenting by Echo Drop-in

One of the amazing/creepy features of the Amazon Echo is that you can opt-in to allowing other Echo users to “drop in” on your Echo, and this establishes an instant audio connection between the two of you, with no need to answer or acknowledge. It’s like leaving your front door open, and dispensing with the niceties of the need to knock.

Today is a snow day, and Oliver is home from school. I need to work. Catherine needs to work. And Oliver is averse to coming to the office or studio with either of us.

Given my new office’s proximity to the house–directly across the street, and 15 seconds away if I’m running–we decided to try an experiment today, where we leave the “drop in” connection between the Echo in my office and the Echo in our living room open. So, in a sense, Oliver and I are “in the same room,” albeit separated by a city street.

Oliver’s 17 years old, and he doesn’t need constant supervision: he’s pretty independent and self-contained as regards most aspects of life. But because someone could knock on the door, or Ethan could start barking at a squirrel, or the toilet could overflow, he needs access to supervision, and that’s what I’m here for, across the street.

We’ll see how it goes.


Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 23, 2018 - 17:59 Permalink
Postscript: it worked, Oliver thrived (he ate his lunch on his own), and no Liam Neeson skills were needed.
Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 23, 2018 - 18:00 Permalink

Another handy use of this setup: I thought I might have forgotten my phone at the office. So I called it from Catherine’s phone, from home, and listened in on the Echo for it to ring (it did).