What are the risks of internet-connected devices?
Because IoT devices can feel unobtrusive in the home, you may not realise they pose the same security risks as more conventional devices, such as smartphones and tablets. This means you could be more relaxed about your security when using them. In reality, these devices collect personal data, often both audio and visual. These devices might also be vulnerable to hacking, as there are no safeguards or security standards for internet-connected objects.
8 tips for keeping your family safe when using internet-connected devices
Check the guidance provided by manufacturers. Product information often comes with new devices or can be found online. This will give you some idea as to how the device collects and shares data.
Many Internet of Things devices require downloading an app. You should check the privacy settings and permissions of any apps you download, as well as the product itself.
Buying a recongised brand is likely to offer greater security than cheaper options, although there have been data breaches with some of the most popular IoT toys. Reading reviews online will help you understand the digital safety of a product.
Many products have parental controls or child-safe modes as standard. These limit search abilities and access to paid-for services. We recommend using these for children under 13. If you’re giving a device as a Christmas gift, make sure you enable these features before the 25 December.
It’s important that your internet router is secure. Most internet service providers have security features, so you may want to consider switching these to safe mode. If the device has Bluetooth, set it to ‘undiscoverable’, otherwise you may unintentionally share data or allow hackers to take control of the device.
Make sure all passwords are changed from their defaults. The use of strong, unique passwords is essential to protecting you and your family online.
With any internet-connected device, whether a smartphone or toy, it’s important to speak to your child about staying safe online. Read our guidance on how to start a conversation with your child about staying safe online.
How to set up parental controls
Innocent searches sometimes reveal not so innocent results. So if you’re worried about what your child is searching for online, who they’re talking to or what they’re seeing, we can help.
Talking to your child about staying safe online
We have the advice you need to start the conversation.
Who knows more about the world of online?
Get the whole family together with Amazon Alexa and take the O2 and NSPCC Parents vs Kids quiz. See who knows the most about the online world and learn a bit more about staying safe.