Smart toys connected to the Internet can be fascinating, but they are not without risks, warns Option consommateurs as the holiday season approaches.

The consumer protection group released a research report into these toys on Tuesday.

The group is referring to toys including interactive stuffed animals and robotic dogs and vehicles – some that answer questions, make custom movements and invite kids to speak with them. Some of these toys come equipped with microphones, cameras and other sensors.

ChiP the robot dog, for example, is ‘trainable,’ offering kids the opportunity to track its mood and health and reward it with a treat. Cozmo, the robot truck, recognizes faces. The Furby stuffed toy never stops shaking, cooing and chatting.

As they perform all of these functions, they collect a lot of data – the sound of a child’s voice, the words it uses and sometimes, they capture images. Some toys even do geolocation, meaning they can track their whereabouts. This is where the problem lies, says Option consommateurs.

The group said it believes that the privacy of children who use these toys is poorly protected.

“Before purchasing a connected device, learn about the company’s practices and mechanisms for protecting your personal information. You need to feel reassured by the information you receive,” the group warned.

- With files from CTV Montreal