Internet Accessible Toys and Devices – How to Keep Kids Safe

By: Josie May, Penfield Children’s Center

As more toys and devices have the ability to use the internet and Wi-Fi through home routers, it is important to keep children safe by using precautionary steps to ensure information and data are not hacked. Many electronic devices and toys use the internet and are connected through your home’s router or routing system. Many children now have VTech watches, tablets, and other gadgets that can be used by being connected to Wi-Fi.

Parents should be aware that these devices and toys can send information back through the routing system which is connected to the internet. This information can then be hacked and sent back and forth. However, there are steps parents can take to make sure their child and their information is safe.

Here are some safety tips:

Lie about information. Some toys and devices will ask a child to input their name, age, and/or address amongst some other security questions. The easiest way to avoid the hacking of this information is to lie about it, and there is nothing wrong with that! Input a child’s nickname, name of their favorite pet or toy instead of their actual name. You can use a fake birthday and fake home address as well.

Set strong passwords. Parents should set strong passwords of a random assortment of words to protect access to devices from potential hackers. Another option is using a password manager. Parents should also change passwords once in a while across all devices.

Use differing passwords. Never use the same password for all gadgets and accounts as this can make it easier for hackers to access all of your information with just the use of a single password.

Talk to your children. Parents should talk to children at a young age about internet safety. Make sure to be specific about what they can share online and what they should keep private, such as personal information like name and address.

Limit tech toys and devices. Another option is using toys that are not internet accessible such as puzzles, coloring books, board games and other physical objects your child enjoys.

What steps have you taken to ensure your child’s privacy and safety?




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