Toys Working Moms Should Leave For Their Kids to Play With
But use common sense and caution with technology and toys!
Have you ever played Barbie dolls and yo-yos? What about a Radio Flyer and Transformers? I bet you did. G.I. Joe, Hot Wheels, Lego hula hoops and Star Wars action figures — these are some of the top 15 best-selling toys of all time, the kind of toys that most of us played and grew up with.
Toys can teach kids new skills and knowledge, as each time they get hold of a new toy’s shape, color, texture, taste, and sound becomes a learning experience. But time has greatly changed, and the way people live and interact is vastly influenced by technology. In fact, more than a quarter of US households that have kids have at least one ‘internet of things’ connected toy — maybe a cuddly teddy bear or doll who can talk and answer a child’s questions.
Technology And Toys
Such technology innovation in children’s toys is also a big help for busy parents like me who negotiates through work, home and taking classes for online master’s degree from UAB, as these toys were billed to improve children’s quality of play, provide new experiences of collaborative play and develop children’s literacy.
However, concerned consumers brought up issues about the toy’s insecure wireless internet connections, either directly via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet that has internet access. These smart toys are wirelessly connected to online databases which pose a risk to the child’s privacy and security.
Unsecured wireless connections
Some unauthenticated ‘internet of things’ toys that can connect to smartphone apps may be accessed by other users by downloading a free app and finding associated toys, which will enable them to communicate with the child playing with that toy.
Tracking kid’s movement
GPS trackers, like those in fitness tracker and smartphone devices that show user’s location, are also found in some internet-connected toys. Moreover, Bluetooth communications in some toys can be spotted as far as 30ft away, showing both the toy’s name and the child’s location.
Poor data protections
Toys that have cameras and microphones and are internet connected can record what the child says, and the data is sent to the company servers and analyzed. These servers then send back instructions on how these toys should respond to the child. Manufacturers don’t ensure data storage and transmission for these smart toys, which poses a high risk of having these functions hacked.
Working with third parties
It’s also possible that smart toy companies share the kid’s information with other companies they work with, and vice versa. It is best that parents carefully check and evaluate the capabilities, functioning, security and privacy setting of internet-connected toys before purchasing. Use caution and common sense when evaluating how technology and toys work together. Otherwise you may opt to leave your kids with the latest Lego or Rubix cube to play with at home.