High-tech toys, also known as 'connected toys', are all the rage. If Saint-Nicolas has brought an intelligent cuddly toy, a robot to learn how to program, a connected watch or even a drone, the fun seems endless. However, if this joy is to last, it is essential to ensure that these intelligent toys are used safely.
When a child receives a new toy, the instinct is to unwrap it and play immediately. However, taking a moment to focus on certain aspects can prevent the fun from being short-lived.
1. Secure your home network
Only connect toys to a properly secured Wi-Fi network. When buying a new Wi-Fi router, do not keep the default settings. Change the network name (SSID) and password. Without these precautions, your network and all connected devices could be vulnerable.
Use WPA2 or WPA3 security. Your router probably has the option of defining a WPA3, WPA2, WPA or WEP encryption key. Choose WPA2 or 3 and configure it before connecting the toy to your Wi-Fi network. If in doubt, refer to your Internet provider's website or consult your router's manual.
2. Always carry out updates
Connected toys, like any software, can contain errors. Make sure you update your toys regularly to ensure their continued safety: https://safeonweb.be/en/do-regular-updates.
3. Replace the password
If possible, replace the toy's default password with a strong one. This will make the device even more secure.
4. Switch the toy off after use
Switching off the toy is not only good for the battery, it also stops programmes running in the background. This habit reduces the risk of missing an update notification.
5. Protect your privacy
Read the toy's confidentiality conditions carefully and adjust the settings if necessary. Limit access to data to what is strictly necessary. Think carefully before authorising location, microphone or contact details.
Be wary of the data collected on children (name, age, sex, habits, preferences, behaviour, etc.). Profiling can be used for marketing purposes (sale to third parties) but also by malicious persons/hackers.
Teach your children never to give out personal information they wouldn't like others to know, or to film sensitive images.
Playing with smart toys can be a great experience. Take the time to explore these technologies with your child. Discover the fascinating features together while discussing best practices for staying smarter than your toys.
For more advice on online safety, see the following links: