The Competition Bureau is warning parents to be careful with toys that can connect to the internet.
The December 11th, 2018 post on its website indicates that “a connected toy could put the privacy and possibly even the security of your kids and family at risk, as they collect and use personal information that includes names, birthdates, address, conversation recordings, physical location, and more.”
The bureau says that information collected by toy manufacturing companies can easily be collected for advertising purposes. It noted that many times toy companies are not clear with how the information is collected, used and disposed of.
“Before you rush out to purchase one of these toys, the Competition Bureau and its law enforcement partners want you to be aware of some of the risks to your children and family,” the note said, adding a list of things for parents to watch out for when buying internet-connected toys.
The warnings include checking for hidden marketing, undisclosed product placement, misleading terms and conditions, intrusive terms and pricey policies, and inadequate security.
The Competition Bureau says parents should use these tips when researching about the toy:
- Research the toy for any known risks or issues.
- Carefully read the terms and conditions associated with the use of the toy.
- Research the toy manufacturer and buy from recognized, trusted brands.
- Learn how the toy works.
- Understand what information will be collected, used, stored and who has access to it.
- Use only trusted and secured Internet networks.
- Change the toy manufacturer’s default username and password. Use strong passwords.
- Ensure the toy is kept up to date with security updates or patches.
- Monitor your kids’ activities when they’re playing with the toy. Turn it off when it’s not in use and disconnect it for added security.
- Learn how to delete your child’s personal information in case the toy gets lost or discarded.
Source: Competition Bureau
Shruti Shekar is a telecom and tech reporter for MobileSyrup. She was formerly a political reporter at The Hill Times based in Ottawa and prior to that was a communications officer for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. She loves reading, the Raptors, and all the alcohol.