Did your child find a smart toy under the Christmas tree this year? If so, you might want to consider a few cyber security factors before your child plays with their new toy.
Internet-connected smart toys have revolutionized the toy industry by incorporating cameras, microphones, sensors, and other multimedia capabilities to create a more engaging user experience. However, the FBI released a warning for parents last year about the privacy risks associated with these new internet-connected toys. Even though smart toys are cool, and sometimes even educational, they silently collect data while your child plays. Like any other smart device, these toys are also at risk for hacking and data misuse.
If your child has a smart toy, it’s important that you fully understand how the toy works so you can help keep them safe while they play. Here are a few questions to consider:
- Have there been any security issues or recalls reported for this smart toy? Do a quick internet search with the name of the toy, the company that makes it, and the word “complaint,” “security,” or “privacy.”
- What kind of information does the toy collect when your child plays with it? How will this information be used?
- Where is the data from the smart toy stored and who has access to it?
- Does the toy give parents a way to see and delete the data it collects?
- If the toy comes with a camera or a microphone, what will it be recording? How will you know when the recording feature is on?
For more information about how to protect your kids online, click here.
Guest Blogger: August Braun
August is a Communications Intern at TDS Telecom and a journalism student at UW-Madison.