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4 things to consider before buying smart toys for kids this X’Mas

It is that time of the year where everyone is looking for the perfect gifts for their loved ones. When it comes to children, parents are bombarded with tons of options. From traditional toys to more advanced smart gadgets.

Before buying a fancy highly connected device for your kids there are few things you need to consider :

1.Look for possible vulnerabilities with the toy

When considering purchasing a smart toy for your child, think about all the possible ways it may be used and potential vulnerabilities in the toy. For instance, Furby Connect a doll that can respond when shaked or tickled can be connected with any device within a Bluetooth range of 10 to 30 metres.

 

Do some research on the following questions before buying the toy:

  • Can children go online and chat to strangers using the toy?
  • Are there advertisements on any of the apps attached with the toy?
  • Does the toy require users to provide their location information?

2. Does the toy requires personal information to be filled in?

Many toys are connected using an app or have some form of data stored in the cloud. They may require you to login and give your personal information before being able to play with it. This could possibly be the simplest way an attacker can  get hold of your data.

 

Before filling in the forms, do check that the toy company is a reputable organisation that emphasis on safeguarding its buyers information. Quite frankly, a lot of toy manufacturers focuses on building toys and may not spend too much of investment in data protection.

 

This becomes particularly important when the toy requires users to fill in their location. When creating an account for your children be sure to not give out home address and do not use the same password as your email or bank account.

3. Is there a camera or in built-in  microphone in the toy?

Parents need to be extra careful if the device has a camera and connects to the internet.

 

Recently, Cloudpets a stuffed animal used for recording messages, songs and stories became vulnerable to hackers. Kids started receiving audio messages from strangers. Recordings were also stored in a server that had no protection. Anyone can access that information and hackers can also make the toy say whatever they wanted.

 

If possible avoid any toy with a camera or built-in speakers that connects to the internet.

4. Is there a monthly subscription with the toy?

Some toys have a monthly subscription fee where an update or new materials will be sent to your children. Find out what are the terms and condition if you would like to cancel the subscription.

Children get bored easily. You do not want to be paying monthly charges when your child is no longer playing with the toy.

Looking for educational apps or toys?  Check out the following apps :

Storyball interactive smart ball where kids get to complete a number of activities such as quizzes and challenges while being outdoor

Fisher price Code a pillar teaches kids to code without a screen

Harry potter coding kit enables your child can build their own wand using a connected app on Apple or Android device. Amazing way to teach kids how to code especially if they are already a Harry Potter Fan.

Finally dont forget: 

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