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How to stop your amazon echo from listening in

Recent news reports in the last week revealed that Amazon has thousands of workers listening to Amazon Echo aka Alexa voice assistant recordings. That is a bit unnerving, however, this post will share several ways, including a serious DIY project, to increase your privacy.

MUENSTER – JANUARY 27, 2018: White Amazon Echo Plus, Alexa Voice Service activated recognition . [+] system photographed on wooden table in living room.

I’m going to cut right to the chase here:

1. The first method of silencing most voice assistant devices is via the manual, physical button. Some of us don’t read the manual and are unaware that there are manual overrides. On Amazon Echo, when you press the microphone button, the external ring glows red (Lord of the Rings metaphor?) and the device is not capable of listening (or at least that’s what we think). Google Home has a button on the side and the four dots on the top light up when disabled, plus it verbally tells you mic is on or off as you press the button (Echo does not).

Also, there are reports that you can mute both the Google Home and Apple HomePod with a simple voice command of “mute the microphone” or “stop listening.” I do not have an Apple HomePod, but the Google Home simply responds to tell you where the button is on the unit and to press it. I found no such voice convenience in the Amazon Echo settings, but it would be nice.

UPDATE: I was testing different privacy settings when I first wrote the post and am now including this one.

2. Regarding the news of Amazon employees listening in to your Amazon requests and interactions, there is a setting (most things for Alexa are managed via the app and it is the same here) under Alexa Privacy.

Alexa Privacy Settings to Off _No More Alexa Listening

Screenshot Alexa Listening No More by TJ McCue

  • In the Alexa App, Tap the menu button (three lines in the upper left of the screen)
  • The top item in settings is “Alexa Account” then scroll to the bottom and select “Alexa Privacy.”
  • You will now see a blue banner saying that Amazon values your trust, yada yada, scroll down to “Manage How Your Data Improves Alexa”.
  • Toggle the next three items, that are on by default (Umm, if you valued my trust, why didn’t you leave these off to start and ask me to opt-in?), to the OFF position. On my Android, it shows as gray when off and little white button to the left. When on, background changes to blue, and dot to right. It will then warn you that “new features” may not work properly if you do this.

3. On the Echo, your household and your contacts may be able to “Drop In” and start a conversation, like a phone call, via two Echo devices. However, it is believed to be only by permission. Some experts have suggested that a connection, as in a fellow Echo owner you have in your contact list, could just listen in on your home conversations. To be doubly sure, go to Communications in your Alexa App and adjust the “Drop In” setting to “My Household” or Off.

4. This is the most radical way (and one I love) to disable your Amazon Echo or Google Home microphone that I have found: Project Alias. This is a total DIY hack that I first saw on Hackaday . It takes a bit of electronics chops and patience, but numerous people have tried it. In essence, the project uses a little speaker that generates white noise that is stopped by a wake word that then allows your Alexa or Google Home command to be heard. So if someone was listening in, all they would hear is white noise. There is reportedly a commercialized version shared in the Hackaday comments. I expect to see more of these devices in the near future.

Hackaday Project Alias White Noise for Amazon Echo Google Home

Image Used With Permission from Hackaday

There are mixed results with people doing this project; I’d guess based on operator skill. I know my U.S. Air Force electronics and soldering skills are might rusty. But the creator of Project Alias wrote a detailed Instructable and provides GitHub files for those who are ready to give it a try. You need a Raspberry Pi Model 3 A+ (roughly $25), access to a 3D Printer, and a few other items. I haven’t tried yet, but I’m working up the courage.

By the way, if you are interested in DIY electronics and various DIY hacks like these, you should check out the 2019 Hackaday Prize which offers some big and small prizes for creating a project like the Alias (although that was not a previous contest entry).

Okay, back to the news that brought about this post. According to Bloomberg , “Amazon.com Inc. employs thousands of people around the world to help improve the Alexa digital assistant powering its line of Echo speakers. The team listens to voice recordings captured in Echo owners’ homes and offices. The recordings are transcribed, annotated and then fed back into the software as part of an effort to eliminate gaps in Alexa’s understanding of human speech and help it better respond to commands.”

Before you go all Minority Report on me, some of this listening is simply meant to improve the product and only happens once you’ve asked Alexa to do something. To give us all a reality check, the Google Home, Apple’s Siri, Android smartphone Google Assistant, Facebook, and a host of others have been given express permission, via their terms of service, to listen in a variety of ways. Completely unplugging is not easy (see Kashmir Hill’s experience below). No doubt, there are glitches and errors that make some of this even more, well, creepy and spy-like.

Let me close with this: We have some degree of control over our privacy, despite a variety of articles crying foul. We decide what we let into our homes, or in our pockets with a smartphone. Indeed, we have expectations that big companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple are not going to betray our trust. In some areas, they have and we need to hold them to account. My hope is that more devices and apps will give us greater control of our data and settings to main our privacy with and on devices. Until then, there’s always the off button, but I know that’s limited for now, too. I’m finding myself thinking like Kim in her piece below. Feel free to share privacy ideas with me as I explore other apps and options and settings.

Here are three excellent articles to give you some privacy thoughts to chew on:

This piece on Digital Trends by Kim Wetzel is worthwhile to read if you’re wondering what all this privacy stuff means and is a great reminder of what we allow in our acceptance of technology: Amazon workers listening to Alexa recordings isn’t a big deal. Here’s why .

Here’s The Shocking Reality Of Completely Blocking Google From Your Life by Jason Evangelho here at Forbes (but the post is about Kashmir Hill’s unplugging from the Big 4).

I’ve been giving this a whole lot of thought and I’m still keeping my Alexa. Here are my more in-depth thoughts on that on Medium: Amazon Echo Alexa Is Kinda Creepy But I Still Love It.

How to stop your amazon echo from listening in

Despite being incredibly convenient, Alexa is fast-forwarding us to a world where advertisers know our every weakness and desire. Well, more than they already do. That’s because your Amazon Echo smart speaker is always listening, in some fashion. If it wasn’t, how would it be able to recognise the “Alexa” wake word?

Want to make it stop? Here are the ways to take back control and make things as they should be: where no-one in your household really listens to you. Here’s how.

Use the mute button, it really works

You might imagine the “mute” button on Amazon Echo devices would just be there to lull us into a false sense of security. And, in one sense, it is.

However, this is also as technically solid a “mute” button as Amazon could possibly make. Teardowns of the Amazon Echo Dot show that when in mute mode no voltage passes through the mic circuitry.

Most mics may not need batteries, but that does not mean they’ll magically work when effectively shut out of the rest of the Echo. This mute mode is legit.

The mute button either looks like a microphone, or a circle with a line through it, depending on your model.

It’s not a bad idea to set your Echo device to mute when not actively using it. This does, of course, make it pretty useless for any impromptu across-the-room commands. Amazon also makes sure you’ll never mistake it for anything but a non-standard mode, as either the LED ring shines red, or a red line appears on the Show series screens.

Switch the camera slider

In the same vein, make sure to use the camera slider on Amazon Echo devices with a screen, like the Echo Show or Echo Show 5 smart displays. This blocks the camera with a layer of opaque plastic.

Unlike the mute button, this doesn’t make your Echo visually irritating. You’re meant to be able to use an Echo with the camera blocked 24/7 if you want.

Turn off the Drop-in feature

Drop-in is one of the most contentious features of the Amazon series. This was introduced roughly alongside the Echo Show, and acts like an audio and video (for the Show series) intercom. Someone in front of the Echo in the upstairs bedroom can get through to someone by the Show in the kitchen.

The issue here is that, when enabled, Echo devices can communicate without the mini barrier usually associated with a phone call. It isn’t so much Amazon spying on you as your eight year-old child.

If you don’t like the sound of this, go to the Alexa app on your phone, select Settings, then Device Settings. Select the one you want to tweak and tap Communication. On this page you’ll see controls to turn Drop In off.

Tweak your privacy settings to be less “helpful”

While you’re in the settings, there’s another tweak to be made in the app. This one restricts how your voice data is handled when Amazon gets hold of it.

Go to Settings > Alexa Privacy and tap Manage How Your Data Improves Alexa. Flick the Help Develop New Features and Use Messages to Improve Transcriptions sliders to “off” if you want to make your recorded commands slightly less accessible to Amazon.

As standard all your messages are put in the big Alexa machine learning cauldron, used to test new features and improve Amazon’s transcription.

However, thanks to the relatively open way the T&Cs no-one reads are written, it also gives Amazon fairly free rein to do what its wants with your recorded commands, such as let human employees (humans!) listen to your recordings. This opts you out of such activity.

Prune your call history

You can also go back into your history and wipe the data Amazon has on file, which is made up of all the things you ask for from your Echo.

This doesn’t stop the Echo from listening to you, but it does wipe the record of it doing so in the past. To do it, go to Settings > Alexa Privacy > Review Voice History.

You should see a list of your most recent Echo interactions. Tap the Date Range box and select All History, then tap the Delete All Recordings for All History link below.

This zaps every clip Amazon has on file but, as the disclaimer that follows says, this may worsen your Echo’s performance. Every bit of data sucked up populates a user profile, which is used for things you want, and others you don’t.

  • Here’s how you can protect yourself online
  • Or, how to change Alexa’s voice, language, or accent

Andrew is a freelance journalist and has been writing and editing for some of the UK’s top tech and lifestyle publications including TrustedReviews, Stuff, T3, TechRadar, Lifehacker and others.

Can Amazon Alexa or Google Home by used by a spouse to spy on their partner? Our clients are normally already aware of the risk that their use of social media and smartphones or tablets will allow their spouse or partner to spy on them. This behaviour can range the relatively benign monitoring of someone’s Facebook feed, to the rather more sinister installing of rogue spying apps on smartphones. We have discussed these risks, and the steps that our clients can take to mitigate them, in a previous post: How to stop your spouse spying on you, your phone, social media or location.

In the last couple of years there has been a proliferation of internet-connected listening devices which are installed in the home. The two major players are Amazon, with their “Alexa” service using “Echo” devices, and Google’s “Home”. These devices work by listening for key words, then recording speech, relaying that back to the provider using an internet connection, then acting accordingly.

The main privacy concern for our clients is the extent to which these devices are recording what is being said in the home, and whether their spouse or partner has access to those recordings. For example, the Echo has a “Drop-In” feature which allows another party to listen to a peron’s Alexa conversation.

In August 2017, a security researcher “Mark Barnes” claimed to have hacked an Amazon Echo to gain “the ability to stream live microphone audio to remote services” i.e. to turn an Echo into a remotely controlled listening device.

In March 2017, Wikileaks released documents purportedly from the CIA and MI5 which showed they had tools to turn Samsung smart TVs into covert listening devices.

Here are some practical steps to be taken by our clients to minimise any possible risks:

  • Turn off or remove the devices from spaces where you may have confiential conversations.
  • If this is not possible, mute the device (button with a microphone with a line through it).
  • Delete existing audio recordings through your Amazon or Google settings, if you have access to the accounts*.
  • Turn off your Amazon “Drop-In” setting.
  • Turn on a notification sound to alert you when Alexa is listening to your conversation (using “Sounds” under “settings”).
  • Turn off “personal results” from the Google Home app (under “settings” and “more”).
  • Go to Manage Your Content and Devices on the Amazon website.
  • Select the Your Devices tab.
  • From the list of devices registered to your Amazon account, select your Alexa device.
  • Select Manage voice recordings.
  • Select Delete.

How to stop your amazon echo from listening in

Amazon Echo Dot by Guillermo Fernandes

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How to stop your amazon echo from listening in

Privacy Please is an ongoing series exploring the ways privacy is violated in the modern world, and what can be done about it.

Amazon’s Alexa can feel like a form of magic. By merely speaking it into the universe, users can conjure up-to-the minute weather reports from far-off lands, summon physical goods to be same-day rushed to their doors, and even get medical advice. But as with most magic tricks, when it comes to Alexa, it’s worth paying attention to just who, exactly, is behind the curtain.

Because, despite what many people may assume, with Alexa-enabled devices like the Echo, there is very much someone behind the curtain. Or, to be more precise, many someones. As with most forms of modern “smart AI,” Alexa depends on real humans listening in on a share of conversations and transcribing those requests.

Amazon calls this “supervised machine learning,” and rather blandly describes strangers being paid to creep on its customers as “an industry-standard practice where humans review an extremely small sample of requests to help Alexa understand the correct interpretation of a request and provide the appropriate response in the future.”

Put another way, your personal questions, doubts, and fears spoken aloud as if no one was listening may have found themselves in the hands of a group of people paid to do exactly that.

What truth do you let out when you believe no one is watching?

Thankfully, there’s something you can do about it that doesn’t involve taking a hammer to your smart assistant (though, if you do go that route, please recycle the smashed Echo afterward).

What Amazon does with your voice recordings

Unless you take the time to dig through your settings and actively opt out, your Alexa-enabled device records and stores your questions and conversations whenever it hears a so-called wake word like “Alexa.”

In some instances, real humans listen to and transcribe those recordings with the goal of improving Amazon’s voice-recognition software.

Or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work. Alexa has been known to record people and rooms even when there’s no wake word spoken intentionally — or spoken at all. It happens so often, in fact, that Amazon has its own term for the privacy-invading habit: “false wakes.”

“In some cases, your Alexa-enabled device might interpret another word or sound as the wake word (for instance, the name ‘Alex’ or someone saying ‘Alexa’ on the radio or television),” explains the company.

In these disturbing situations, complete strangers can end up with audio recordings of your Alexa chats. Those chats might be innocuous things like asking for the weather forecast, yes, but also potentially private information like asking for directions to the nearest Alcoholics Anonymous.

That’s because Amazon pays people to listen to and transcribe a subset of Alexa requests with the stated goal of improving the service.

In 2019, Bloomberg reported on a group of contractors who had this very job. One of those reviewers told the publication that, in addition to their other work, those contractors each transcribed around 100 recordings each day that appeared to be the result of false wakes. Those false wake recordings included what they thought to be a recording of sexual assault as well as banking details.

To make matters worse, Bloomberg later reported that some Amazon employees listening to and transcribing Alexa recordings could see where those customers lived. Once you have someone’s location data, it’s pretty easy to figure out their real name.

This is all in addition to the fact that your recordings are kept on Amazon’s servers for later reference. You can ask Amazon to delete those records, but even if you do, the company keeps a copy of the written transcript for 30 days.

In other words, Amazon Echo devices pose a potential privacy threat. Thankfully, there’s something you can do about it.

How to opt out

Amazon’s Echo and other Alexa-enabled devices hoover up your personal information by default. That means that unless you dig around in those devices’ settings and make an affirmative choice to say “no, thank you,” in the eyes of Amazon you’ve effectively said “yes, please.”

Of course, however, that’s not true. As Apple’s recent update to iOS demonstrated, when presented with the choice, very few people will opt in to surveillance. While that’s often not a choice that’s clearly presented to people, it doesn’t mean it isn’t one you have.

To delete past Alexa recordings stored on the Amazon cloud:

  1. Log into your Amazon account.
  2. Go to the Alexa privacy settings page.
  3. Select the “Privacy Settings” tab in the top center of the page.
  4. Under “View, hear, and delete your voice recordings,” select “Review voice recordings.”
  5. Where it says “Today,” hit the drop-down menu and select “All History.”
  6. Select “Delete all of my recordings.”

To tell Amazon to stop saving the recordings of your voice interactions with Alexa:

  1. Log into your Amazon account.
  2. Go to the Alexa privacy settings page.
  3. Select the “Privacy Settings” tab in the top center of the page.
  4. Under “Review and manage smart home devices history,” select “Manage Your Alexa Data.”
  5. Under “Choose how long to save recordings,” select “Don’t save recordings,” then hit “Continue.”

To tell Amazon not to share your audio with real humans:

  1. Log into your Amazon account
  2. Go to the Alexa privacy settings page.
  3. Select the “Privacy Settings” tab in the top center of the page.
  4. Under “Manage how you help improve Alexa,” select “Manage how you help improve Alexa.”
  5. Under “Help improve Alexa,” deselect “Use of voice recordings.”

When speaking with Alexa, it’s important to remember that the tool is more than just a disembodied voice in cloud, swooping in to magically answer your questions.

The digital assistant that’s become synonymous with Amazon Echo devices is billed by the data-hungry conglomerate as an educator, surrogate caregiver, and all-around helping hand. And the 100-million plus Alexa-capable devices sold by Amazon are a testament to the fact that, for rather large section of the global populace, that message resonates.

Now is your chance to send a different message straight to Amazon itself, and in the process, let the silence of your newly deleted Amazon records echo in its executives’ ears.

The Echo Dot is a fun, inexpensive device that lets you do a lot of different things. One of its features is the ability to synchronize with your Amazon account, which also gives it the ability to get notifications and messages.

Unfortunately, for some, there is an audio notifications associated with the notifications and messages, and you might find it to be distracting or disruptive. Fortunately you can adjust the settings for the Echo Dot so that you no longer get that audio notification on your Echo or Echo Dot.

How to Disable the Audio Notification and Message Sound for an Echo Dot in the Alexa App

The steps in this article were performed on an iPhone 7 Plus in iOS 10.3.3., using the most current version of the Alexa app that was available when this article was written. Completing these steps is going to stop the notification sound that you are currently hearing when you receive a notification or a message on your Echo Dot.

Step 1: Open the Alexa app.

How to stop your amazon echo from listening in

Step 2: Touch the menu icon at the top-left of the screen.

How to stop your amazon echo from listening in

Step 3: Select the Settings option at the bottom of the screen.

How to stop your amazon echo from listening in

Step 4: Choose the device for which you want to disable the audio notification.

How to stop your amazon echo from listening in

Step 5: Scroll down and select the Sounds option.

How to stop your amazon echo from listening in

Step 6: Touch the button to the right of Audio in the Notifications section of the menu to turn it off. I have disabled audio notifications in the picture below.

How to stop your amazon echo from listening in

Do you have more than one Echo or Echo Dot in your home, and you would like to be able to synchronize them so that you can play the same music on all of them at the same time? Find out how to play the same music on multiple Echos at once and create a simple, affordable whole-home audio experience.

Matthew Burleigh has been writing tech tutorials since 2008. His writing has appeared on dozens of different websites and been read over 50 million times.

After receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Computer Science he spent several years working in IT management for small businesses. However, he now works full time writing content online and creating websites.

His main writing topics include iPhones, Microsoft Office, Google Apps, Android, and Photoshop, but he has also written about many other tech topics as well.

How to stop your amazon echo from listening in

Yes, voice technology is amazing. You can ask your phone a question. You can talk to your speaker system and book an Uber. With the right setup, your voice can lock the doors, dim the lights and change the thermostat. All across America, people are embracing their oral fixation.

But while virtual assistants are handy, they’re always listening. As more manufacturers and developers jump onto the audio tracking bandwagon, you may wonder how much your devices are recording. And what happens to the audio files they gather?

Worst of all are the apps that use ultrasonic data to profile you. You don’t hear the tones, but your device does. (More about that later.) Some regular apps are designed to spy and report back recordings. Click here for five spy apps that could be watching and listening on your phone right now.

Creeped out? Lots of consumers don’t trust their virtual assistants and wonder how to switch them off. If you’re worried about the privacy risks of your smartphone’s always-on microphone, here are tips for turning it off.

More on this.

When you install the Facebook app on your phone, it asks for access to your microphone. Why? Because Facebook needs to record your voice when you shoot live video. But some people are wary of this. Does the app record you only when you’re on camera? Or is Facebook “listening” to you all the time?

Facebook denies it’s always listening — and there’s no evidence that it is — but you are absolutely welcome to sever the tie between app and microphone. Many people have no use for this access anyway, so there’s nothing to lose by switching it off.

If you are an iPhone user, go to Settings >> Facebook and slide the Microphone switch to the left, so it turns from green to white. That turns it off. Alternatively, you can go to Settings >> Privacy >> Microphone, then look for Facebook and do the same. Note that you can toggle the mic on and off for other apps, too. For Android users: Try Settings >> Applications >> Application Manager >> look for Facebook >> Permissions >> Turn off the mic.

If you decide to shoot video later on, just return to those settings and re-establish the connection to your mic. You can switch it off again when you’re done.

Amazon Echo

Is Amazon Echo always listening? Alexa is activated when it detects one of its wake words: “Alexa,” “Amazon,” “Computer” or “Echo.” You’ll know the device is ready for a command when the outer ring at the top glows blue. But before that happens, Alexa always has open ears, waiting to be addressed.

When activated, Alexa allows you to search the web, play music and control smart home devices you’ve added to your home network. For example, with the right smart gadgets, you can turn off the lights in another room, lock the front door, turn up the thermostat, etc.

The downside is that Amazon keeps an audio recording on its servers of every voice command you give to Alexa, along with a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word. The recording ends after the command has been processed.

I was surprised when I checked my Amazon Echo recordings. In one recording, I was explaining why I wasn’t taking a deal on a commercial building that I had for sale. You should take a moment and check your recordings. Click here to learn how to hear all your Amazon Echo recordings, and how delete them too.

Like the Echo, Siri is always attentive, even when you’ve forgotten your iPhone can hear you. With iOS 8, Apple introduced the “Hey Siri” wake phrase, so you can summon Siri without even touching your iPhone. If you turn this feature on, this means your iPhone’s mic is always listening, waiting for the phrase “Hey Siri.”

Apple says this is processed locally on your iOS device, and it does not start recording until it hears “Hey Siri.” Once your request is recorded, it uploads the audio file to Apple’s servers for processing.

But that may still give you the willies. Luckily, you don’t have to disable Siri completely to stop the “Hey Siri” feature. Here’s the easiest way to turn off “Hey Siri”: Navigate to your iOS device’s Settings >> Siri & Search, then toggle off “Allow Siri When Locked.”

Google recently released its latest masterpiece, “OK Google,” the wake prompt for Google Assistant on Google Home speakers, Android smartphones and the Chrome browser.

Every time you use “OK Google” or another voice-controlled function, your request is recorded and the snippets are saved to your Google account.

Luckily, Google introduced a new My Account tool that lets you access your recordings and delete them if you want. You can also tell Google to stop recording your voice for good.

Here’s how to turn off the “OK Google” wake phrase: On Android, go to Settings >> Google >> Search & Now >> Voice and turn “Ok Google” detection off.

Changing these four settings will help parents sleep at night.

Getting a new Amazon Echo or other Alexa-enabled smart speaker can be exciting: You can now shop, stream music, order pizza, call friends, play games and call an Uber without lifting a finger. But what about the kids?

You never know what a child might get up to with your tech, and they can much more easily hijack your smart speaker than they could a password-protected phone or tablet. Plus, how can you protect your child’s privacy, and make sure they’re not distracted from their homework or chores?

Sure, you could always buy an Echo Dot Kids Edition, or enable FreeTime on another Echo device. But these features set Alexa to treat anyone it interacts with as a child: It tells jokes and stories, and answers questions, with a kid-friendly and educational tone.

If you’d prefer to stick with the adult Alexa, never fear. There are still several settings you can change to make your grown-up device safe for kids to use, whether you have an Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Dot, Echo Spot or Echo Show. Here are the most important things to do to kid-proof your Echo.

1. Turn off Voice Purchasing (or set a code).

The worst thing your kid can do with Alexa is empty your bank account when you’re not looking. If any children will be near your smart speaker, it’s important to turn off Voice Purchasing.

To do so, click the menu in the top left corner and select “Settings.” Then, select “Alexa Account,” and then toggle “Purchase by Voice” off.

If you want to leave Voice Purchasing on, you can also set a four-digit voice code on this page, which Alexa will then ask for to confirm future purchases.

2. Turn on the Explicit Filter.

You never know what music your kid might stumble across on the Internet, even when using Alexa. Setting an Explicit Filter will block Alexa from playing any songs that contain explicit words or phrases. It will also prevent your kid from streaming iHeartRadio, TuneIn, SiriusXM, Gimme Radio and Deezer.

To turn the filter on, open Settings, select Music , and toggle on the Explicit Filter. You can also say “Alexa, block explicit songs.” However, you’ll want to toggle Voice Deactivation to “off” so that your kid can’t tell Alexa to get rid of the filter.

3. Turn off Drop-In (or restrict it).

Drop-In allows a user to pop in, unsolicited, to a video call on another user’s Echo Spot or Echo Show. It’s one thing to have friends surprise you in your living room, but probably not a good idea to have people, no matter how familiar, dropping in on unsuspecting children.

It’s a good idea to either disable Drop-In or set it to only work with other Echo devices in your household. To toggle both settings, open “Settings” and “Device Settings,” select your Alexa device and select “Communications,” then scroll down to tap “Drop In.” toggle Drop In to “Off” or “My Household.”

4. Schedule “Do Not Disturb Mode.”

Alexa can be fun, but alerts for your calls, messages, and reminders reverberating throughout your house at night could be distracting, or spooky for your kids. Do Not Disturb mode can temporarily block calling and messaging alerts (as well as Drop In, if you have it enabled).

You can schedule Alexa to enter Do Not Disturb mode at the times when your kid is sleeping or doing homework. To do so, go to Settings and Device Settings, select your device, select Do Not Disturb, and toggle the feature on. Then, toggle “Scheduled,” and input the times when you’d like Do Not Disturb to start and end. This schedule will repeat daily until you turn it off.

MORE: For more Alexa-related tips, tricks, and how-tos, check out our complete guide to Alexa.

Monica Chin is a writer at The Verge, covering computers. Previously, she was a staff writer for Tom’s Guide, covering artificial intelligence and the internet of things. You can usually find her at poetry slams, attempting to exercise, or yelling at people on Twitter.