As parents shop for Christmas gifts, be wary of smart toys that could spy on your children.

Parents are being warned about smart toys that could spy on their children as they go about their holiday shopping.

As the holidays approach, experts advise parents to be cautious when purchasing smart toys, as they may be used to spy on children or even steal their identities.

A $6 billion industry exists for smart toys, which are toys that have a camera or microphone and can connect to the internet.

"While not all smart toys are dangerous, it's incredibly alarming that a child's privacy could be jeopardized," said Hannah Rhodes.

A report titled Trouble in Toyland, written by Rhodes, an associate with US PIRG, a non-profit that investigates consumer health and safety issues, found security risks in some smart toys.

Data on a child could be collected, hackers could gain access through a Bluetooth connection, or children could be exposed to inappropriate content.

"In this year's report, we looked at a children's karaoke machine that could be connected via Bluetooth," says the author.

"We discovered that even if the toy was turned on but the Bluetooth pairing button was not pressed, you could connect to it from 30 feet away outside your home," Rhodes said.

If a game or app requires a profile, children's information could be stolen.

Identity theft could occur as a result of the child's log-in information.

If their toys collect personal information on children under the age of 13, toy companies are required by law to inform parents about their privacy practices and give parents the right to have their children's personal information deleted.

However, because toy companies aren't tech companies, hackers may find it easier to steal that information.

Parents should be present when a smart toy is being set up, according to Rhodes, and if your child needs to create an account, make sure a strong password is used and sensitive information isn't shared.

"They're becoming more popular, so it's critical that we talk about what issues might arise and make sure we're stopping or preventing them before they happen," Rhodes said.

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