AI, Smart Toys & More: The Toy Association’s Top Tips to Keep Kids Safe in Digital Spaces

October 30, 2023 | Artificial Intelligence (AI) and internet-connected technologies have the potential to add fun, enriching, and educational features to children’s toys. As these “smart toys” and other connected products in the home become more mainstream, The Toy Association is offering parents and caregivers some simple tips to help protect the privacy and safety of children in digital spaces.

Tip 1: Shop Smart
When shopping online, only buy toys from reputable sellers and/or known brands, whose products comply with hundreds of strict safety standards required by federal law, and who follow guidance within the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which is overseen by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and governs children’s privacy and data security online. “Smart toys” sold by illicit sellers may be unsafe because these bad actors are unlikely to comply with all the relevant safety laws and guidance.

Did You Know?

One example among many safeguards outlined in the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is that companies must adopt careful procedures to manage voice recordings associated with voice-activated toys by promptly deleting the recording once the request has been recognized. More information about COPPA can be found here.

Tip 2: Talk to Your Kids

Starting when your child is young, explain to them the importance of never giving out their personal information to people online, and teach them how to create strong passwords. Be sure that passwords on all connected toys and devices are strong and are changed regularly. As an adult, it’s also important to model safe online behavior – this includes limiting who can see your online content, turning off location services on your devices, and using 2-step verification to protect your online accounts.

Tip 3: Familiarize Yourself with the Product
Read the toy’s privacy policy and enable all parental controls. Be sure to disable cameras and the device’s chat functionality, if applicable. Your home Wi-Fi connection should also be password protected – when traveling or using devices outside the home, make sure your children are on a secure Wi-Fi network. Finally, if you are going to donate or pass on the toy to someone else, reset it to clear its memory.

“Toy companies continually address emerging issues and challenges related to new technologies as they seek to incorporate new tech features into their toys,” said Joan Lawrence, The Toy Association’s “Toy Safety Mom” and SVP of standards and regulatory affairs. “While the toy industry works hard to protect the safety of children both online and offline, parents are advised to only bring connected products into the home that they feel comfortable with – and that they can safely and confidently manage on behalf of their children.”

For more safety tips, visit, The Toy Association’s trusted toy and play safety resource for families.