Privacy experts issue a warning over the risks of children’s tech gifts 

With so many tech products on the market, consumers face the challenging task of distinguishing those that prioritize personal data security from those that do not.

For parents, a lack of vigilance could turn tech gifts into potential threats to their child’s privacy. The latest Mozilla *Privacy Not Included holiday buyers’ guide reveals that many toys and apps designed for children collect substantial amounts of data, with some even surpassing many adult technology products in terms of data leakage. 

One example highlighted by the researchers is the Embodied Inc. AI Moxie Robot. This toy records and shares children’s conversations with Google and ChatGPT-maker OpenAI. The researchers expressed concern about the data practices of this and other products. Concerns were also raised about the lack of transparency when it comes to data privacy. 

Previously positively rated companies, including Bose, Eufy, and Sonos were given new privacy warning labels this year. Even well-known companies such as Amazon, Samsung, Wyze, and Microsoft Xbox, already flagged with warning labels, had disappointing results in terms of privacy policies. 

The 2023 holiday edition of *Privacy Not Included evaluates over 150 popular tech products in categories such as Smart Home, Toys & Games, and Wearables. The list includes Microsoft Xbox, Sonos, Garmin Fitness Trackers, Apple Watches, Fitbit, Peloton Bikes, Amazon Ring, iRobot vacuums, Tile Trackers, Bose headphones, and the Tamagotchi Uni.

Mozilla said: “Embodied Inc’s privacy policy tells parents to teach their kids not to share personal information with their Moxie learning robot — yet the product’s marketing simultaneously encourages kids to hone skills like emotional regulation and self-confidence. 

Other companies also often market smartwatches to parents of children too young for first phones. Researchers found many privacy concerns here, including one, the Angel Watch for Kids, that doesn’t even seem to have a privacy policy that covers the smartwatch or app at all.”

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