July 9, 2015

DONNA RICE HUGHES PRESS STATEMENT -- HELLO BARBIE
 

Hello Barbie is one more bad and dangerous idea by Mattel to bring beloved Barbie into the digital age, the first being Video Barbie that used a video camera embedded as Barbie's necklace.   Beneath the guise of using cool technology to deepen the relationship girls have with Barbie,   Hello Barbie  is  Mattel' s latest ploy that is nothing more than spyware inside the  talking interactive  Barbie that  opens the door to the invasion of privacy, child manipulation and  exploitation.   

A girl's relationship and friendship with her Barbie dolls should be treated with the utmost privacy and care. Instead, Hello  Barbie comes to life with child specific and micro-tailored conversation and questions that can manipulate a child's innocent and intimate communications with Barbie.  Unbeknownst to the child, here is what happens:

  • Hello Barbie  records the innocent, playful and trusted encounters between the child and doll,
  • Relays the recordings via WiFi to the Cloud where Mattel's partner, Toy Talk,  applies algorithms to the child's private conversations,
  • That information is turned into questions and conversation for Hello Barbie to communicate back to the child.

Essentially, Barbie is  an Internet-enabled interactive digital device disguised as a doll. Hello Barbie functions more like a Bond girl using artificial intelligence and the eavesdropping technology to cater to and engage in conversation with the unsuspecting target... I mean child.   

There is nothing good about this idea. For generations, girls have not needed any help at imaginative and creative play with their Barbie dolls.  Mattel needs to focus on remaining a child-safe parent-trusted toy manufacturer and let Barbie be Barbie, a girl's most trusted confident and BFF. 

                                                    

DRH Green Polo Headshot             
Donna Rice Hughes has been a pioneering leader on Internet safety issues for over 22 years. She is the CEO and President of Enough Is Enough®, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to make the Internet safer for children and families. She is also the Executive Producer and Host of the Emmy award-winning Internet Safety 101SM TV series.  Donna saved her first Barbie doll for her children and grandchildren.  Both Donna and her Barbie are now in their fifties.