Christmas is a time when many children around the world tear off the wrapping paper to a brand-new toy from under the tree, but some of those new gifts could be collecting your child’s personal information without your knowledge.
From Barbies to Hot Wheels, toys have changed over the years. More technology is being integrated into them than ever before.
With that, comes the risk of exposing personal information.
Learning Tree in Nichols Hills is one of free remaining “basic” toy stores in Oklahoma City. It’s been a busy few days leading up to Christmas.
“I don't really have toys where the child has to go and provide all kinds of information to the company. In most cases that’s not appropriate for children to be doing,” said Patti Pepper-Rasmussen, owner of Learning Tree. “It is easy for a child to pick up the phone and do that.”
It's a topic all too familiar for Teresa Rule at RNT Professional Services.
Ignoring and agreeing to lengthy terms and conditions could be giving company’s the green light, for example Mattel, to collect personal information including demographic, social media sign-on and payment information.
“Historically, we see that sometimes kids start receiving communications from people that a parent wouldn't necessarily want them to receive,” said Rule. “It could be that its used in house for the toy manufacturer to suggest additional enhancements to the game or the product.”
To get your information back you can contact the company. What you say makes all the difference.
“The problem is if the information has already been sold, they can only give you what they still have,” said Rule. “They don’t necessarily say we also sold it to these 10 other vendors or 10 other marketing firms, so it is a matter of how you word the request to get the data back.”
Be sure to read privacy statements like this one here so you are aware of the risks.
The US Department of Homeland Security offers additional information on how to protect yourself and your personal information.