Toys are evolving at the same pace as technology.
Known as smart toys, they already incorporate technology. They can access the Internet, interact with children and compile all types of information that is put online.
We know about all of their benefits, but have we analyzed the risks?
Encouraged by the novelty, we don’t often stop to reflect on the safety of these toys and the potential dangers to children’s privacy.
What you should know before buying these toys
The first thing you should understand is that they are toys with an Internet connection. They are controlled by mobile apps that allow them to interact with children. When a toy is connected to the Internet, all the information it collects goes online. It may seem obvious, but we tend to forget about this detail and what can happen if the information falls into the wrong hands.
You should also know that one of the biggest disadvantages of these toys is that the software can be hacked by other users from other cell phones. They can take control of the toy and access the information stored by its owners.
Another risk is that all of the child’s conversations with the toy are recorded and registered by voice recognition software in the manufacturer’s server.
Six recommendations to make smart toys safer
- Find out how the toy interacts with the Internet, what data it requests and collects, what privacy options it has and how to configure them.
- Don’t include data that make it possible to identify the child or their location.
- Always change the default passwords. This is one of the best ways to make the device more secure.
- Update the software. Smart toys almost always require software updates, just like the apps on your smartphone, which have security patches that are designed to protect them from threats.
- Monitor what the minor shares with the device.
- Adjust the toy’s location settings to your preferences, although it’s best to deactivate geo-location services if it has them.
As parents, we should choose toys that let children play, have fun and learn, but always in a safe, positive and responsible manner.
In order to face the new challenges to our security and that of our families, it is essential to educate ourselves. That’s why BBVA is offering family events that will cover these and other topics related to our families’ security in a digital society.