Consumer Watchdog

Electronic toys can collect kids’ data. Here’s what you need to know.

Once a toy has an internet connection, it suddenly has the capability to 1) gather a lot of information and 2) send it somewhere.

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Pexels user Alex Green | Public Domain

You’re probably aware that, in our increasingly digital world, various bits of information about ourselves (our “data”) are widely available on the internet and collected by online companies. But did you know that children are often put in the same position by digital and internet-connected toys?

R.J. Cross, director of PIRG’s Don’t Sell My Data campaign, is helping parents get up to speed on some of the potential dangers of these “smart” toys, such as the risk that a child’s information could become exposed online. R.J. and our consumer team have focused on providing concrete tips for whether and how to buy a smart toy, and for ensuring safe play if you do decide to bring one home.

“Having any data collected on a child that isn’t strictly necessary is unsafe — especially when one of the primary ways this data can be used is to be sold to advertisers,” R.J. told CBS Mornings, which covered our “Smart Decisions about Smart Toys” report.

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