What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things, often referred to as IoT, are everyday objects that connect to the internet. These connected devices can be activated using voice commands, or controlled by downloading and using an app or via a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection. Examples of the Internet of Things include:
- • Smart speakers,
- • Smart meters (for home electricity and heating),
- • and wearables such as smart watches or fitness trackers.
What is the Internet of Toys?
The Internet of Toys are toys that connect to the internet. Similar to the Internet of Things, these toys can be controlled using a smartphone app, voice commands or using a Bluetooth connection.
Connected toys are different from other toys because they collect, use, and share data via the internet. This data might range from personal details like user age or location, to microphones and cameras recording what users see and hear.
Examples of the Internet of Toys include:
- • Connected action figures and dolls,
- • Bluetooth-enabled toys or tablets;
- • Robotic toys such as drones,
- • and learning development toys that aim to educate children.
What are the risks associated with the Internet of Things?
Although connected devices and toys provide children with opportunities for learning and interactive play, there are some associated risks.
- • Concerns have been raised about whether these devices are collecting too much personal information from children.
- • Some children (either accidentally or on purpose) are able to search for and access age-inappropriate material via a connected device such as a smart speaker.
- • Children may make ‘in-app purchases’ and spend money, which is often taken from their parents’ bank account without their knowledge or consent.
- • Some of these devices may be more vulnerable to hacking and monitoring, as there are currently no security standards in place for connected devices.
Luckily, there are things you can do to minimise these risks.