There are some online games, apps and smart toys that can expose your precious child to all sorts of dangers such as falling prey to paedophiles, being cyber-bullied, encouraged to self-inflict harm, or even pushed to suicide
Remember when you were a kid and you would play games with your friends like hide and seek, tag, or climb trees, catch insects and just cycle around the neighbourhood?
Your toys would mostly consist of stuffed animals, action figures, skipping ropes, footballs, hula-hoops and you also had a mini library of story books.
Modern technology has introduced a whole new world of interactive games and smart toys that can walk and talk, so the generation of kids nowadays are quite familiar with touch-screens and keyboards.
It's difficult to completely avoid exposing your little ones to screen time, or to shield them from all these fancy new gadgets -- and you must also admit that sometimes it is sort of a life-saver for you after a long day and you just need a few minutes to yourself!
But are all these online games, apps and smart toys for children and youths really all that innocent?
Here's a list of the top six dangerous children's games and toys you should definitely be crossing off the list and keeping far away from your precious kids!
What is it?: This online gaming platform is popular with kids, teens and even adults, which allows users to interact with one another in this virtual world, play games and also engage in role play.
The dangers to your child: The game's chat feature allows online predators such as paedophiles to communicate with your child and send him sexually explicit messages.
When Iain Morrison decided to play this game which was popular with his two young sons, he was shocked to discover that there were adults who were complete strangers sending him messages online.
"They said ‘hi’ so I said ‘hi’ and they asked if I was a boy or girl and my age so I said I was an eight-year-old boy. They asked me to follow them to their [virtual] house, then into the bedroom and asked me to lay down on top of them and then they started with the sexual movements. They said ‘you look cute’ and ‘you look sexy’. It was sickening reading all the comments pop up. My kids were completely oblivious as to what the words and stuff meant. It’s full of f**king paedophiles if you ask me it’s completely messed up its turned my guts, anyways it’s deleted off their computers forever and I’d highly recommend you check your kids to see if they have it and get rid of it”, he warns other parents.
2. My Friend Cayla
What is it?: This smart toy looks like an innocent baby doll with pretty features, lovely hair, a sweet smile, and an equally adorable outfit.
It is so smart that it can even talk to your kid and ask her personal questions.
The dangers to your child: Regulators in Germany have classified the Cayla dolls which are equipped with built-in microphones as "hidden espionage devices" and are even urging parents to destroy this toy!
They caution parents that this doll will be able to steal your child's information and also any other details about you and your family that she might share with her toy.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center has also stated that this smart toy "violates privacy rules [by] recording conversations and transmitting audio files to a remote server without parental consent."
3. Blue Whale
What is it?: This social media game dares its players to also participate in a series of tasks which are detrimental to their health and can also cause them great harm.
The dangers to your child: As each "level" progresses, it gets increasingly dangerous.
Examples of the various "tasks" assigned include:
- Waking up at 4.20am
- Watching horror movies all day long
- Cutting yourself with knives or razors
- Carving words or symbols (such as a blue whale) onto your own body
At the highest and final level of the game, your child will be instructed to commit suicide.
Some teen deaths have already been linked to this disturbing online game when youths in Russia jumped to their deaths either from high-rise buildings or in front of oncoming trains.
What are the other dangerous children's online games, apps and smart toys you should be wary of? Keep reading to find out!