At first glance, internet-connected dolls, robots or other “smart” devices that can interact with your children may seem really cool. After all, your children already talk to their toys, right? Well how do you feel about a hacker listening into everything they say to a doll?
Suddenly the toys go from cool to creepy.
The truth is that beneath the shiny surface of smart toys there is a lot going on that could put your children’s or family’s privacy at risk.
Collecting PII and much more
Smart toys can have a variety of different features for collecting and processing information, including a microphone, software, or even a sensor to recognize gestures.
To build a friendship, toys may ask specific questions about your children’s lives, in addition to "listening" to what they say as they play. That means that the toy manufacturer may have access to a wealth of personally identifying information (PII) about your child and your family, such as:
The dark side of connected toys
The sharing of all this information between your child and the toy manufacturer’s servers is problematic on multiple levels.
When your children are desperate for the latest popular toy, it can be hard to say no. But it’s worth thinking carefully before bringing a smart toy home.
Before taking the plunge, follow these three tips to protect yourself:
 “These Toys Don’t Just Listen to Your Kids; They Send What They Hear to a Defense Contractor,” Consumerist, Dec. 2016.
 “This is Why Tech Toys are Dangerous,” Computerworld, Dec. 2015.
 “Connected Toys Violate European Consumer Law,” Norwegian Consumer Council, Dec. 2016.
 “These Toys Don’t Just Listen To Your Kids; They Send What They Hear to a Defense Contractor,” Consumerist, Dec. 6, 2016.
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