High-tech or 'connected toys' are all the rage. There is a good chance that St Nicholas brought you this type of toy connected to the Internet: a smart doll, a robot to learn how to program, a drone... There are no limits to the fun. When used wisely, these smart toys pose no problem.
Be smarter than your toys
When children receive a new toy, they want to unwrap it and play. Sometimes, however, it is better to pay attention to certain aspects to avoid short-lived fun.
Secure your home network
Only connect toys to a properly secured Wi-Fi network. When you buy a new Wi-Fi router, don't keep the default settings. Change your network name (SSID) and password. If you don't do this, someone with bad intentions could use your network and therefore all the devices connected to it.
Use WPA2 or WPA3 security. Your router probably has the possibility to set an encryption key of type WPA3, WPA2, WPA or WEP. Choose WPA2 or 3 and set it up before connecting the toy to your Wi-Fi network.
Not sure how to do this? If you bought your router from your Internet provider, you can find out how to set up the router's settings on their website. Otherwise, you can find this information in the router's manual.
Connected toys can contain errors, like any computer program, so it is sometimes necessary to update them. These updates will allow you to continue using your toys safely.
Replace the password
Replace the toy password if possible. Sometimes there is a "default" password on your toy (e.g. admin). Change this password to a strong one
Finished playing? Turn off the toy
Turning off your toy is not only good for the battery, it also prevents programs from running in the background. By regularly turning the toy on and off, you will certainly not miss a request for a new update
Without spoiling the fun, think about privacy!
Your or your child's privacy is important, but so is the privacy of other children. If the toys in question allow you to take photos or film, make the necessary arrangements with your child. It is not allowed to film or photograph others without permission. Sharing pictures is also not allowed without permission.
Play with your child to discover how cool smart toys can be. You can then also find out together and discuss what to look out for so that you are always smarter than your toys.