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Amazon UK trains Alexa to offer advice on periods

IANS | May 29, 2023 05:12 PM

LONDON: In a bid to encourage more families to have open conversations around menstruation, Amazon UK has trained its virtual assistant technology Alexa on how to give advice to manage periods, the e-commerce company said.

UK teenagers can now ask questions such as "Alexa, what is regular period pain?", "Alexa, can periods affect my mental health?", "Alexa, how do you use period pads?", "Alexa, what is a typical age to start your period?", "Alexa, what are reusable period products?", "Alexa, where can I get free period products?", "Alexa, are reusable period products cheaper?"

To develop the new experience, Amazon worked with period poverty charity Freedom4Girls, utilising its research guides to teach Alexa the key information around the subject, including key information around period poverty and where lower income families can have access to period products in the UK.

When information about periods is requested, Alexa will also answer using information from the UK National Health Service (NHS) website.

"It's so important that teenagers and parents alike can communicate with each other properly about periods. Whether you're embarking on your first menstrual cycle, or if you're helping someone you know prepare for their experience, " Tina Leslie, Founder of Freedom4Girls, in a statement.

The 'Period Talks' utterances are launched as over a third (37 per cent) of UK families with teenagers admit they are too embarrassed to have open conversations about menstruation, with a further 30 per cent revealing they struggle to talk about periods because they're worried about saying the wrong thing, and over a quarter (26 per cent) stating that they're concerned about handling difficult questions on the subject.

Yet, 80 per cent believe that having open conversations with family members reduces embarrassment and stigma of such sensitive subjects.

"Alexa can now act as a tool to help families navigate challenging conversations around menstruation, " said Dennis Stansbury, UK Country Manager for Alexa.

"The hope is that having useful and relevant information available on Alexa via voice will encourage an open environment for these discussions, " he added.

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