New Rules for Kids Apps
New online privacy rules for children make smart phone and iPad play safer than ever. Plus, kids app review sites.
“Hey, Mom, can I get this app?”
Before you answer, do you glance at the screen, see a cartoony graphic and assume the app is OK for kids? Or do you grab the phone or iPad away to research the app’s content and what personal information your child will have to divulge to use it?
Going forward, determining which apps are truly kid-safe will be easier than ever. On July 1, an FTC amendment to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) extended regulations on mobile apps concerning the disclosure, collection and usage of personal information for users under age 13.
The new app guidelines
App developers must now:
- Provide a clear account of the personal data they collect from children — including first, last, user and screen names; physical address and geolocation; online contact info; phone and social security numbers; and photo, video or audio files that contain a child’s image or voice.
- Provide notice to and gain consent from parents to obtain this data and share it with third parties.
- Allow parents the option to have the data purged and/or its collection stopped at any time.
- Take reasonable measures to maintain the confidentiality of the data, and retain it only for as long as it serves the purpose for which it was collected.