Like any other technology, wearables have both advantages and disadvantages. Smartwatches and Wristbands can keep children safe by allowing them to ask for help if they face danger, and at the same time they keep parents informed about the location of their children via GPS.
According to Allen Scott, consumer EMEA director at cyber security solutions firm McAfee, wearables could make children an easy target for cybercriminals.
“Families are currently facing one of the most critical issues at the moment, protecting personal information in a hyper-connected world. Every day we connect our lives to external sources without realizing the many ways others can exploit our digital connections,” warns Scott.
“Many parents have introduced wearables such as smart watches to their children’s lives, as they think it provides them with additional peace of mind about their whereabouts and safety. However, parents need to quickly realize whilst yes, these wearables have great benefits, unfortunately, they also have a number of security flaws leaving children vulnerable to cyber criminals hacking their devices.”
Less than 23% of people realize that wearable devices and connected toys for children need to have security protection, according to a recent McAfee research.
Scott says that any device or toy, with an online connection, is at risk of being attacked by cybercriminals, but wearables carry a higher risk and children using connected toys may become exposed to viruses, malware, and even strangers online.
The excitement to use a wearable right away will cause a child to hand over information without even knowing the consequences, Scott says. He cautions if parents aren’t having open and honest discussion with their children about the dangers of using wearables the risks will be heightened. “The impact is not usually immediate and over time the data collected by cybercriminals paints a picture of the children’s lives, making them vulnerable to all kinds of cybercrime and potential attacks,” he said.
Many cheap wearables for kids do not have streaming and plugging security. Scott said that the manufacturers should know that they have a moral obligation to ensure their tech is secure for children, and if they fail they should be held accountable.
“Whilst these devices can bring huge benefits to our lives, the security and, the safety of our children using them should be the absolute priority and if a brand cannot guarantee their products are protected then they shouldn’t be sold,” he says.
Scott points to one potential approach to protect a child’s wearables is by implementing a solution that keeps the whole smart home safe and secure – using routers that come with extra layer of security, ensuring your connected devices are safe.