Spy Games: Are smart toys taking away privacy of kids

When the term “smart” was paired with phones, the world of technology got a little easier, more convenient as we were able to be that much more in the know from the comfort of our phones.

Some 10 years after the first smart phone wowed us, “smart” might quite have the same feeling among the masses, although you’d be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t partaking or wearing a device with that moniker (i.e. phone, watch, appliances, etc.).

But a question that bears discussion focuses on smart devices, namely toys, and whether or not your kids and their privacy are being intruded upon and, quite frankly, ignored.

The argument also could be made for appliances with the “smart” selling point, wondering just how much information these are capable of not only intaking but also pushing back to someone as simple as the manufacturer or more complex, as in, who knows who is getting or seeing what?

Toys are a bit more of a hot button, given that kids are involved in this topic, and invasion of privacy for a toddler or pre teen just seems as though the “smart” wave is about crash if this is a legitimate concern.

Consumer groups are filing complaints for toys of this ilk, stating essentially that internet connected toys “subject children to ongoing surveillance.”

Simply put, toys are starting to engage children to the point that they’re bluetooth compatible and, in some cases, connect to smart phones and subsequently the internet.

The question asks is if the child is taking to a toy or the toy has any interactive qualities to it whatsoever, where is that information going? Who retrieves it online? Who exactly are the kids confiding in?

Certain toys have the ability to interact to a high degree, and can give real time answers to questions. The consumer groups are arguing vehemently that there are no limits to this data being collected or who it is given to.
Suddenly “smart” turned scary rather quickly.

Parents and consumer groups alike have reason for concern. Not that adults should be subjected to be spied on from a refrigerator or washing machine, but kids are totally off limits, particularly when you consider the toys as being the catalyst to carry this concern far beyond an idle thought.

For consumers to have to worry that they’re giving their son, daughter, niece or nephew or grandchild a toy that could take away the innocence of a talking doll or teddy bear is silly, sad and totally absurd.

Some sort of regulation needs to be in place or more data must be brought to the forefront in order to answer those aforementioned questions about the interaction piece and what happens to all that would be chatter between child and toy.

If it all sounds ridiculous, it should. The sanctity of some random child playing without having to worry about consequences


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