Smart and connected toys require awareness by parents. Understand the technology involved, and be smart and informed about the new world of connected toys. When toys are dangerous, it's because of culture, not the presence of technology. In fact, smart and connected toys are not that much different from any other consumer electronics products.
Why is this a big deal?
I.D. Theft & Fraud. The worry is that even basic pieces of information could allow criminals to start building profiles of children, potentially setting them up for identity theft or other fraud in the future. Children have no credit history and their parents generally aren’t checking their credit reports. This makes them easy targets of fraud could go undetected for years, till they try to open what they think is their first credit card account
Virtual Kidnapping. A criminal would use the information they had about a child to convince a parent that they had kidnapped the child and demand a ransom.
Here are some tips:
- Use a P.O. box for your billing and delivery address: Many toys enable you to buy additional features, content, services, or add-on products. When you pay with a credit card, you'll be required to provide a billing address and a delivery address, which are both usually your home address. That information is usually lumped in there with the personal data the company stores about you and your child. Where children are concerned, the home address is the single most dangerous bit of personal information. Instead of your home address, use a P.O. box, so you never have to worry about malicious hackers posting your child's home address on a criminal website somewhere.
- Be wary of parental controls. Parental controls can be secure, but they can also provide the best access point for hackers. For some products, kids might be safer if you don't use those parental controls. If the data you have access to as a parent is protected only by a password or is accessible online or over wireless, then hackers might be able to get access to that data as well.
- Create a fake account. It is completely legit for you set up your child’s account with a different name, fake picture, and other false information. And most of the time, you can refuse to provide it all together. Parents have become accustomed to handing over personal information to companies in order to get a more personalized experience, whether they’re setting up a kid’s toy or signing up for streaming TV. But there’s always a chance that the database where that information is stored could be stolen.