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Caution to parents looking to buy tech toys this holiday season

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 3:52 PM EST
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STRONGSVILLE, Ohio (WOIO) - While many are devouring turkey and stuffing this Thanksgiving, others who are devoted to finding the best deals will be out at the stores snatching up those Black Friday buys.

If you’re looking to get your hands on the hottest tech toys of the season, be sure to first do your homework.”

Five to 10 years ago, the only thing that was connected to your Internet in your house was your computer,” said Alex Hamerstone, director of advisory solutions at TrustedSec.

The Information Security consulting company, based in Northeast Ohio, specializes in “ethical hacking,” and works with many major retailers, banks, and other corporations.

Basically, the company tries to hack into various companies’ software to see how secure they really are.

”And then, of course, (we) help them secure those systems so hackers can’t break in as well,” Hamerstone told 19 News.

But hackers aren’t just eyeing those on the Fortune 500 list.

They’re also eyeing everyday devices, like smartphones and tablets, which may end up in the hands of your kids.

Many of these “smart” gadgets are among the most popular purchases on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

”What I worry most about are devices that create an online community,” said Hamerstone, a father of two kids, referring to devices such as video game consoles that connect to the Internet.

”There’s not really a lot of control over what’s happening in these chats or those chat rooms,” he said, which means you might not know who’s really talking to your kids or playing with your kids.

Hamerstone’s advice for parents scouring the sales this holiday weekend is to focus on what’s age-appropriate and try to monitor your kid’s online activity, when possible.”

Just know what your kids are doing, be in the room when you can be,” he said.

Hamerstone also urged parents and guardians to educate kids on the latest technology.

”Stress to kids that if they’re ever uncomfortable in any situation to let you know,” Hamerstone said.

And when it comes to the security of your family you never be too careful, except when it comes to security, in general, especially cameras inside your home.

”Really, for each of us, it comes down to making that decision. Is having that camera in my house worth the possible risk of someone else accessing it?’” He said.

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