Parents have power over companies cAPPtivating kids

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Seems like just about every time you visit the app store on your mobile phone, there are cool images grabbing your attention and luring you to places where companies and others want you to be. But when apps specifically target children and gather personal information from them, parents have the right to know about — and stop it.

TinyCo, which makes mobile gaming apps for kids, allegedly infringed upon this right by violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule. COPPA requires companies with apps and websites directed to kids to notify parents, in plain language, about the information they collect from kids under age 13. These companies also must explain how they will use the information and get parents’ permission before asking for it.

The FTC determined that the apps in its case against TinyCo appealed to children — with their brightly colored graphics, subject matter and language — and that the company collected email addresses from some children. 

In addition, the FTC says TinyCo received many complaints from parents (mostly concerning in-app purchases) about their children’s use of the app. Yet the company allegedly didn’t check to see if the apps had collected personal information or taken steps to comply with COPPA, like deleting the information.

If you have a child under 13, COPPA gives you control over what information online or mobile app companies can collect from your child. This includes your child’s name, address, phone number, email address, and information the companies can use to track your child’s online activities.

Learn more about how COPPA works and file a complaint with the FTC if you believe a company has violated your rights.

Tagged with: app, COPPA, kids, online, privacy, web

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Learn more about how COPPA works and file a complaint with the FTC if you believe a company has violated your rights.

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