Smartwatch Kids

A German regulator is banning the sale of certain smartwatches designed for children because they can be used for spying. Parents who own such products should destroy them, the country's Federal Network Agency said in a Friday notice.

These watches include a listening function that lets parents monitor their child over a mobile app on a smartphone. However, that same feature can let them secretly eavesdrop on any surrounding conversation close to the watch—like listening to a teacher in a classroom. German law prohibits this kind of function, the Federal Network Agency said.

On Friday, the Federal Network Agency said its already cracking down on sales of the smartwatches built with the listening function, which are generally targeted to children ages 5 to 12.

In February, the agency took the same action against an internet-connected doll called My Friend Cayla because of its listening function; it was removed from the market. "There is a particular danger in toys being used as surveillance devices," it said at the time.

A month ago, a Norwegian consumer watchdog also found security flaws in three smartwatches built for kids.