Smart toys flew off the shelves on the black Friday and Cyber Monday event. However, we ask, what makes them so smart and are they safe?
The FBI has now issued a stark warning to parents who bought tech for their children over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend.
In recent years, there have been several scares about technology watching and listening to everything we do. In 2016 Amazon Alexa was found to be activated by TV adverts; prompting the ordering numerous products on customer amazon accounts.
How are they dangerous?
Smart toys now typically have sensors, microphones and cameras in them, enabling children to interact with the toy. Many have multimedia capabilities, GPS and storage to ensure the toy remembers details and interacts properly.
Unfortunately, with the inclusion of technology in children’s toys they have become a target of crime. Many toys, including the Furby connect, are accessible by Bluetooth as well as WIFI. Devices which are taken out of the home can easily be accessed by the public when they are within BlueTooth range.
How to Avoid Danger
There is no set method to avoid data breaches, or criminals connecting or contacting your devices. There are ways to prevent a greater risk of problems occurring including:
- Check the toy’s security features: Ensure the toy company doesn’t share any data with third parties. This often creates a weakness where data is accessible at multiple points, with multiple companies.
- Keep devices up-to-date: When a weakness is found the company will often release a fix, much like when phones are updated. This will secure a device where possible.
If you’re unsure of any of the features you can always switch off wifi and Bluetooth. This may disable the features and interactivity but it will ensure the device isn’t providing GPS and other information.
What are the latest smart toys?
There is a huge range of smart toys on the market, from Furbies to robots and cloud pets. The EU is now looking into the potential threats and data protection violations.
If you’re concerned about the safety of the toys you may have purchased in the last week or so you can always check the manufacturer’s website. Our best advice is to always supervise children playing with smart toys in the same way you would an iPad/tablet or mobile phone.
- Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit
- Nintendo Amiibo
- Furby Connect
- i-Que Intelligent Robot
- Cloud Pets
If you’d like to research your smart toys, you can find more information online, or at which.co.uk.