Buying Internet-connected smart toys for your kids? Read this.
Technology is at the forefront of everything we do today. From work to play – almost everything incorporates some sort technology. For our children, who are born into a world driven by these devices, it can be easy to dismiss the fact that they still are children and require special attention – even while they play.
Years ago, kids might have been begging for the newest Barbie doll or radio-controlled car, but today they want new iPhones, mobile tablets – even drones that are connected to the web and offer enhanced experiences, unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.
Internet-connected smart toys are gaining steam. Before you head out to buy the one’s on your child’s wish list, you’ll want to read these tips to keep them safe.
Do Your Research
Your children might know a lot about modern technologies and even help you out when you’re lost with online applications, but that doesn’t mean they totally understand the implications that connected devices can have on privacy and security. It’s up to you to do your own research before you buy. Spend some time online reading reviews, recent news headlines, and getting a feel for what others have to say about their experience with the toy. Be sure to check if there are any known security breaches with the product. You should also read the privacy and user agreement information for these devices to get the specifics on exactly how your child will be interacting with it. For example, does it turn the microphone on to listen to the conversation or save data about their usage?
Secure All Connections
One thing we don’t think about when we’re home using devices on our own network is the fact that if the right security protections aren’t in place (even on your own home Wi-Fi) it can leave all devices connected to it vulnerable to an attack. Understanding the type of Bluetooth connection the smart toy works off of is also key to knowing if you have to be extra vigilant with your child’s usage. Privacy risks can change based on this simple fact so it should be a deciding factor if you want to purchase it all. Be sure all security patches and updates are performed regularly and are up to date for smart toys and your network devices if you do plan to bring them into your home.
Child Identity Theft is Real
When we think about identity theft we typically picture adults whose credit cards are stolen or other financial data breached and putting them at risk. However, identity theft can target children, too. In fact, the FBI has issued its own warnings to consumers on the dangers that smart toys can present in the home. From the sensors, microphones and other technologies they use to collect data, there is an increased chance that too much self-identifying information about a child could be shared via the devices making them susceptible to identity theft early in life.
Do your due diligence as a responsible parent to protect your child and everyone in your household from fraud risks by shopping for smart toys armed with the knowledge necessary to still enjoy modern innovation without having to lose sleep.
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