'Huggybug Your Family Today': Don't play around with children's online safety
Consumers International has created a 60-second spoof advert ‘Huggy Bug Your Family’, highlighting some of the problems found in internet-connected children’s products.
The film was launched at the G20 Consumer Summit in Buenos Aires on 15 May, co-hosted by Consumers International and the Argentinian National Directorate of Consumer Defence. The summit brought together governments, consumer advocates, digital experts and international businesses to address the issue of Internet of Things children’s toys, games, apps and products.
Testing by consumer rights organisations has uncovered weak security in many of these products, meaning hackers can access photos or audio, and even communicate directly with children. They can also function as a gateway to other internet-connected devices in the home.
They often have invasive data collection features, meaning data about the child is collected, shared or sold to third parties often without any meaningful parental control or understanding of the risk and impact as well as being imbedded with inappropriate marketing messages through commercial endorsements.
There is currently no effective regulation of these products, and little consumer understanding of how they function or their faults.
Consumers International is calling on the G20 countries to improve the security and data protection of children’s connected products and services over the next year and support greater international co-operation on the topic.
Don’t play around with children’s safety.
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“Children shouldn’t be growing up with potentially a ‘spy’ in their bedrooms and parents shouldn’t have to worry about who’s listening in. We need strong leadership from the G20 on this issue as well as commitments from the industry to do better. We need manufacturers to address safety and privacy at the beginning of the design process, not ask for forgiveness when yet another security fail makes the headlines.”