Some of the best toys of the season are phones, laptops, and game consoles, but before children discover one of these wired gadgets under the Christmas tree, parents do have safety risks to consider.
Anything connected to the internet comes with a slew of risks from privacy to predators, explained Chris Hadnagy, a self-proclaimed ethical hacker and founder of the nonprofit Innocent Lives Foundation.
“If they give our child a phone, a tablet, a laptop, a gaming system, and we let them use that in the privacy of their room with no supervision or no monitoring or no internet monitoring at our home, then we’re putting or child at risk,” “It would be no different than having a child who’s old enough to drive saying, ‘Here are the keys. Go figure it out.'”
Using technology is a reality, and Hadnagy says it can be done safely. But parents have some work to do before new smart toys are connected.
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“The first thing is non-technical,” he said. “And that is having an open, honest conversation with your child about the dangers.”
“The second thing I tell parents is, ‘Learn how to monitor those devices,'” You should put apps in there that can track certain machines whether it’s a phone or tablet. I still make it a guideline not to do it stealthily as a parent myself. I tell her, my daughter, say, ‘Hey, I’m going to use this app. Here’s the website you should look at it. I want you to know why I’m doing this. This is not because I want to read your private stuff. This is because I want to stop a bad guy from chatting with you.'”.
It is also crucial to ensure that your network is safe, so stuff like smart cameras and displays don’t allow hackers to gain remote access to your home accidentally.