Recently the children’s commissioner for England is calling tech companies and toy-makers to be more transparent about the data they are collecting on children.
According to the report children are being ‘datafied’ from birth and we do not know consequences of it.
Internet-connected toys are appealing for parents and children. Parents can track what kids are doing with an app . They also come with flashy gadgets like a machine learning teddy bear, not just a normal teddy bear.
But Internet-connected toys are heaven for hackers. Many of the toys contain microphone, camera, sensors, data storage components, and location tracking- making children’s privacy and safety at risk.
Not only do some of this toys collect your child’s information but they also enable strangers to communicate with your child. For instance, 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.
Being connected to the internet poses plenty of security problems- but these gadgets are targeted towards children. Before buying a smart toy for your child , think whether the benefits outweighs the risks. Here are 4 things to consider before buying a smart toy for your children.
The report by the children’s commissioner for England does not include sharenting in its list of how children are being ‘datafied’. But I would add this into the list.
Consequences of sharenting:
(Source : BBC News)
While advancement in technology have created fun and ‘educational’ toys think about all the potential vulnerabilities in the toy.
Toy manufacturers are focused on creating toys and may not be investing too much in safeguarding their buyer’s information. It is our role as parents to safeguard our children’s identity.
Also, avoid sharing too much information about children online. It is still unclear how social media companies are collecting and using our data. The risks are too high.
Here are other tips to you keep children safe in the digital age :
Instagram : 3 Instagram safety tips for parents
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