From simple electronic ‘pets’, through to advanced kits for teens to design and construct their own unique robot, robotic toys can be used to learn and master valuable skills like engineering, maths and coding. Some robotic toys are controlled through specific apps on devices, while others may be internet-enabled or connected to smart home devices.
There are robotic toys aimed at all ages and stages of development — from robot dogs for ages 5+, through to advanced robotics kits for dedicated enthusiasts in their late teens.
What to look out for
- Do some research to ensure you pick the robotic toy with the right level of complexity for your child.
- Robotic toys and accompanying user accounts may store personal information, such as your child’s name, age, gender and, in some instances, location.
- These databases can be exposed to third parties — including hackers — revealing your child’s personal information which may be exploited.
- Inbuilt cameras and microphones may record video or audio of your child.
How to stay safe
- Do some background research to get across any obvious safety or security issues.
- Update default usernames and passwords with stronger versions.
- Update software regularly.
- Deactivate any voice or video recording capabilities.
- Secure your home network; it’s wise to change your wi-fi password on a regular basis especially if you’re still using the default password.
- Only pair via Bluetooth with another device you are aware of and can control.
- Be aware of any third-party apps or software that can access your data.
- Understand what happens with the information you, or your child, provide when setting up the account or through interactive play. Learn more about protecting your personal information.