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Rising Popularity Of Smart Toys This Christmas Also Raises Questions About Their Security

Rising Popularity Of Smart Toys This Christmas Also Raises Questions About Their Security
Toys worth £350 is gifted to the average child aged nine and below every Christmas. And in recent times, toys have transformed into items that are more sophisticated, computerised and connected enhancing the user experience. But this is exactly where there are rising privacy and security concerns among a section of experts and even parents.
And hence the big question is whether these connected toys are safe a secure for their children to use.
Every tasks and services are increasingly making use of the so-called smart or connected devices by families and households. For example, turning off lights with a smartphone or summoning the voice assistant to know the latest football scores, or let the fridge alert a user about when to refurbish it with food.
Toys too are getting similarly interactive and children can now engage with such connected toys and talks and interact with them. This is a direct result of the development of technologies that are making toys more connected to the Internet.
Children are offered to range of means to interact and play and get educated with connected toys. However, it becomes necessary to ensure that private information of the children are secured and parents have the confidence in the security and privacy safeguards off smart toys that are related to becoming an interactive friend of children where they also have the capacity to collect personal data and offer external information.
Storing of personal data of the children such as their names, photos and voice recordings, engage in direct communication with the children and enable real time tracking of the children are enabled by smart toys. And it may be assumed by many parents that the companies manufacturing smart toys have already taken adequate measures to ensure information safety and security. However, many forms of such connected toys have been found to be lacking adequate security measures in recent reviews. This has raise concerns among many.
While a number of types of smart watches for children had been banned recently in Germany over privacy concerns, calls for boycotting products form the popular toy manufacturer VTech have been given to parents after there had been a series of hacking incidents. And in a recent research in Norway about connected toys showed that many failed “miserably when it comes to safeguarding basic consumer rights, security, and privacy”. Defects in data security, terms and privacy agreements and embedded security were the main issues.
This is threat because such connected toys can be brought under control remotely by hackers with just the use of a mobile phone and it would this be possible to listen through the device without possessing any physical access if there is lack of security.
Since children are often unable to understand the precise functioning of a smart toy, therefore they are vulnerable consumers.
Therefore, parents need to ensure that the agreements and terms of use are very clear and precise and they should also help children understand the functioning of the toys and that there is enough control of the parents over the connected toys and how data is collected and its usage.
Now considering the possibility of high popularity of such connected toys in the near future, it is imperative that parents take proactive steps to help children while they use such toys.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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