Smart and/or technical toys are at the top of the wish list for many children. Before you buy your child but one, you should read the warnings of the FBI.
Children have many desires and with growing age also the demands grow and the interest changes. Simple dolls, cuddly toys, cars, books and building blocks are increasingly out of fashion and dust in the toy box. Technical toys are in demand. As beautiful and forward-looking smart toys may be, they also pose dangers from which even the FBI now warns.
If even the FBI deals with technical toys …
… then it must be a serious matter. Recently, the FBI has pointed out the dangers of technical toys and sees the problem superficially in the microphone of the toy. This can impair child safety.
Dolls, plush toys, cars and other toys are increasingly connected to the Internet. For this to work, the technical toys have not only built-in voice output but also integrated microphones. In addition, often built-in features such as camera or GPS are added.
The danger of the technical toys is that it can record data through the networking with the Internet and with the help of the integrated gadgets, such as the microphone in the toy, and can transmit it to a server outside the children’s room. There is a risk that personal data of the children will fall into the wrong hands. The FBI is urgently warning that the technical toys and the microphone in toys make the children’s privacy and safety at risk.
So at risk is the safety of children really
The tricky thing about the technical toy is that you often did not even notice how your sensitive data is spread. Whether an unwitting online connection or a conscious hacker attack, there is always the risk of data transmission. The market launches of the toy manufacturers sometimes come very quickly and it can happen that times security and privacy guidelines are ignored. In the worst case, a technical toy can even have the same features as in espionage technology. An example of such a case is the doll ‘My friend Cayla’, which had to be removed from the market precisely for this reason to ensure child safety.
In addition to child conversations, the technical toy can also transmit sensitive data such as name, age, gender, place of residence, etc. to strangers. This can be a major threat to the safety of children, as unauthorized persons can misuse the data and, in the worst case, visit the children when they are at home alone.
Often the technical toys are missing from safety precautions or data are passed on to third parties by the recognition of the usage regulations unintentionally. A potential danger is also the unencrypted transmission and storage of the data since many toys do without encrypted data transmission. In many smart toys, children are therefore exposed to an incalculable danger, which parents can only control very hard or not at all.
How can parents protect their children?
One-hundred-percent protection is only the renouncement of smart toys or the separation from the Internet, whereby most of the technical toys do not work properly. If your child does not want to do without technical toys, however, you should at least inform beforehand how the toy is evaluated by data protection and other users. If there are serious concerns, you should rather refrain from using technical toys, explain the dangers to your children age-appropriate and look for an alternative to playing with them.