That special time is upon us once again, when the summer comes to an end, kids begrudgingly prepare for their upcoming school year and parents rejoice at the prospect of occupied little ones. We are no stranger to the laundry list of items that need to get accomplished before the school year starts, year after year. However, with rapidly advancing technology and changing trends in how students are being taught in schools, one new thing that parents need to consider is how these trends may impact their children. That’s right: we’re talking about wearables.
Wearables. The tech devices that are so mobile you wear them on your wrist (just in case your pocket or purse is too far away). It’s no secret that smartwatches are taking over. In fact, it is estimated that 71 million smartwatches will be sold in 2018 alone. With that in mind, just how secure are these wearable devices? As we become flooded with back to school gear and supplies, be sure not to overlook the vulnerabilities of wearable technology and leave your student at risk.
Keep reading for some of the biggest risks that wearables pose to you and your family.
Kids will be, well, kids.
You may have the most well-behaved child on the planet, but kids are still kids. Smartwatches are likely the most fragile (read: expensive) part of your little one’s wardrobe, so you probably aren’t going to want to give them a $200 accessory to wear on their tiny, messy, energetic arms. Thankfully, thanks to the huge success of smartwatches for adults, there is actually already a market for smartwatches designed with kids in mind, that are more durable, colorful, and even loaded up with games and kid-centric activities.
Smartwatches aren’t usually protected
You know how your computer, email and banking accounts are password-protected (or, even better, two-factor authenticated,)? Well, smartwatches and many other wearables don’t require password protection or PIN numbers of any kind, especially ones that are designed for kids. And, considering that most of these devices keep stored data on their hardware, they are pretty easy to tap into from a hacker’s perspective. Granted, it is unlikely that your student is storing any sensitive information on their smartwatch – but if it is connected to anything of yours that may be a bit more important, the same principal applies.
Smartwatches don’t work alone
Smartwatches aren’t independent devices, they are connected to smartphones, hence their name. See #2 of this list again; If there is any confidential information stored on your child’s phone, or connected through your phone’s network, the wrong people can get their hands on that information.
Pro parenting tip: Teach your kids to not store anything important – like passwords or information about you – on their smartwatch (or their smartphone, by extension).
Smartwatches are stage 5 clingers
You know what we mean – wearables often connect (regardless of permission or intention) to nearby devices using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi networks. If we as users always have Bluetooth turned on, or connect to public Wi-Fi networks, those open channels serve as an open window for hackers.
Big Brother is real
This is nothing new: we have recommended using webcam covers to keep your privacy intact while using your laptop or desktop computer for the last few years. Wearables for kids are no different, but such covers don’t exist for these smaller devices. In other words, (in really, really creepy words,) someone with the right information could hack into your young ones smartwatch and manipulate its video and audio surveillance.
It is clear that smartwatches and similar wearables are here to stay, especially in the lives of the next generation and the ones to come. The trick will be maximizing our personal security while we embrace this great technological change.
Check out the rest of the Secure360 blog to find out what else there is to learn and stay tuned for more back-to-school help in the months to come! Have some pointers on how to help your kids stay safe with their wearable smartwatches? Leave your ideas in the comments below!