West Australian researchers just scored a cool $349,700 in funding to take a close look at the good and bad of internet-connected toys.
Researchers from Edith Cowan University’s School of Arts and Humanities will investigate how toys equipped with cameras, recorders and internet connections impact children’s privacy and safety.
The project’s chief investigator, Dr Donnell Holloway, said with an increasing number of internet-enabled toys coming on to the market, there is a need for new policies to protect children’s privacy.
“Children only see these as just another toy, perhaps with some special or extra abilities. But they are not necessarily thinking of privacy,” she said.
“We need regulations that clearly define who owns the huge amounts of children’s data that is being collected and work out how we can ensure that children and their parents can control and hopefully retain ownership of their data.”
Dr Holloway said the project would also examine the potential benefits of internet-enabled toys.
“It’s not all doom and gloom. There are plenty of positives to these toys. But the toy industry has moved along fairly quickly without pausing to think through some of these issues.”