Mobile Apps for Kids
If you have a smartphone or tablet computer, you probably use apps. And chances are your kids do, too. Easy to download and often free, apps are quickly becoming an everyday part of kids’ lives. While this new media provides enormous opportunities for users of all ages, it also raises some concerns. For example, it’s not always easy to get information about how a particular app works. Some apps may access personal information, such as a user’s location; others may offer extra capabilities, like full access to the internet.
Before downloading an app, parents should be able to see what data the app collects, how it will be used, with whom it may be shared, and whether the app connects to social media services or contains targeted advertising.
To see what information was available to parents when deciding whether to download an app, Federal Trade Commission staff surveyed the Apple App Store and the Android Market. We reviewed hundreds of pages promoting apps for kids, and we’ve released our findings. We discovered that it was often impossible to determine whether an app collected data, let alone the type of data or its possible uses.
Over the next 6 months, the FTC will do additional reviews to evaluate whether some mobile apps have violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). All members of the kids’ app ecosystem – stores, developers, and third party service providers – should make sure that parents have the information they need to make informed decisions.
In the meantime, take advantage of the information provided about the apps you download for your kids. Consider who created the app, and what the app does. Take a minute to learn about the controls and settings of your kid’s mobile device. For more tips and information, check out Understanding Mobile Apps.