Parents called 'cruel' for not changing daughter's name

Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK
Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK 

A mum with a daughter called Alexa has asked Mumsnet forum members if she should change her name after a litany of hassles. The 3-year-old shares her name with the ubiquitous virtual assistant, Amazon's Alexa and she's fed up with insensitive comments from others about her child's name.

She writes, "Our daughter is [sic] called Alexa before the Amazon thing came out and we were thinking about changing her name for obvious reasons but we stayed firm with it as it is. However we have come under pressure from other parents and friends to consider changing it, which if we had to it would be Alexandra as its close to what it is now."

With the background given, she then details a few of the jaw-dropping things people have said to her about Alexa's name, and the stress it's causing.

"We have even been called cruel for not doing it! We have had one parent apologise for the way her son might speak to our daughter as he is very rude to Alexa at home... Has this world gone mad? Our daughter will be 3 in a few weeks and this is causing us so much worry at home as the next years are crucial to her finding her identity."

She then asks Mumsnetters, "Has anyone with a daughter called Alexa been finding it so much of an issue?"

While there are names out there that have been rendered unusable for undeniably horrific reasons - names like Isis and Azaria - we can hardly blame this mum for being concerned when the whole planet is using her daughter's name to bark orders at a virtual assistant.

Many responders said she should remain steadfast and not change the name.

"Whoever is suggesting you do is an idiot. She's not a budgie, she's a small child who knows her name. It would be completely unreasonable to change her name, in my opinion."

Others suggested a nickname for school.

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"She could be Alex or Ali for school - if you and she want. Or another nickname. But help her be proud of her name."

A few said she should change it, one relating a story about an Alexa they know.

"Some friends of ours have a 12yr old called Alexa. She was teased mercilessly at school - Alexa, what's the capital of France etc, by several boys in her class. All in jest but very annoying. The family are now calling her Lexie and have insisted all her school records are changed too. So yes it can go pear shaped. The family were very worried about it.

Here's a few replies from fellow parents of (non-electronic) Alexas.

"I have an Alexa, age 11. So named well before Amazon Alexa or Alexa Chung came on the scene. It was an almost unheard of name when we chose it. She is not teased about it at all. I think the people telling you you are cruel not to change it are obnoxious and very rude. As someone else has already said, it will be obsolete tech before long anyway. Please don't change her name, ignore the idiots."

"We have a DD called Alexa!! It is such a pain and we have to just laugh about it! We make a joke about how when we go to peoples' houses and I ask Alexa to pop her shoes on because it's time to go home an electronic voice says "I do not understand what you mean". I also won an Alexa at the school fair! After swearing we would NEVER have one in the house! But we just call it Echo. Honestly we laugh it off and it's not a big deal and we still LOVE the name Alexa and would never change it."

The OP responds to the messages with more information about her dilemma.

"We think the same as most of these comments that this is our daughter's name, however it feels 'socially' her name is not acceptable. We understand kids bully for all sorts of reasons but we feel this is something that our daughter will really hate us for. We have fallen out with several people defending our name choice but as many have said (in kindness) the generation our daughter is growing up in will be very accepting of this technology. They will be use to ordering Alexa about l, it's just a shame you have to say the name to get it to do something. 

We have regularly stayed in a cottage in Dorset and being told next time we go we have to shout Alexa to control the heating! How is our little girl going feel? Our little girl was born in Feb this device came out in the September........ this year it's going to be in cars... what next!"

We wish the parents all the best with their decision. It's a tough one when companies call products human names.