Reading reviews of smart toys and devices can help you figure out if they’re appropriate for your child.
We’re surrounded by technology. Smart watches, smart speakers, smart TVs and even smart fridges are now a normal part of our everyday life.
It has even extended into the toy market, with a wide range of smart and connected toys available for children.
These are internet-enabled devices with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or other capabilities built-in.
While they can provide fun experiences that liven up playtime, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks of these toys.
They collect data when they’re being used, therefore it’s useful to be aware of the privacy policies of the smart toy that you’re buying.
Under Irish data protection legislation, if your child is under 16, a manufacturer of such toys, or “data controller”, who is collecting and processing personal data, is required to obtain parental/guardian authorisation to process it, where consent is the legislative basis for doing this.
You can read more about the Age of Digital Consent here but in the meantime, here are some helpful tips for ensuring your child’s data is protected.
Know what you’re buying
It might sound obvious but knowing all the functions of the smart device that you’re purchasing is incredibly important. Research the smart toy or device and read reviews to ensure that it’s age-appropriate. Look for features like a camera or location tracking and weigh up if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Set strong passwords
Your data is only as strong as the password protecting it. Ensure the password is strong with symbols, letters and numbers.
Maintain an open dialogue with your child
Have a chat with your child about being safe online. Make sure they know their boundaries and the importance of protecting themselves and their data online. This includes smart toys or devices that have a chat or share function. Talk to your child about never giving out personal information to people online or posting sensitive data on social media.
Remember, while this sounds scary, it’s teaching children good habits about staying safe online. These lessons will stay with them and give you peace of mind too.
Points to Consider
- Smart or connected toys are internet-enabled device with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or other capabilities built-in.
- They can collect data when they’re being used.
- Under Irish data protection legislation, if your child is under 16, a manufacturer of such toys or “data controller” who is collecting and processing personal data is required to obtain parental/guardian authorisation to process it, where they are relying on consent as the legislative basis to do this.
- Keep an open dialogue with your child about staying safe online including setting strong passwords and only accessing things that are age-appropriate.