Large numbers of connected toys have been put on the market over the past few years, and the turnover is expected to reach €10 billion by 2020 – up from just €2.6 billion in 2015. Connected toys come in many different forms, from smart watches to teddy bears that interact with their users. They are connected to the internet and together with other connected appliances they form the Internet of Things, which is bringing technology into our daily lives more than ever. However, the toys' ability to record, store and share information about their young users raises concerns about children's safety, privacy and social development.
A team of JRC scientists and international experts looked at the safety, security, privacy and societal questions emerging from the rise of the Internet of Toys. The report invites policymakers, industry, parents and teachers to study connected toys more in depth in order to provide a framework which ensures that these toys are safe and beneficial for children.
The report calls for industry and policymakers to create a connected toys usage framework to act as a guide for their design and use. This would also help toymakers to meet the challenge of complying with the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into force in May 2018, which will increase citizens' control over their personal data. The report also calls for the connected toy industry and academic researchers to work together to produce better designed and safer products.
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