As parents in today’s digital age, the privacy of our children online is a constant worry. Government officials are taking note of this concern and taking action. In a bipartisan effort, state attorneys general from 24 states are asking for better online protections for children.
Companies use the information gathered by different apps, games and social media platforms to gather information about users, including children, in order to target advertising. This information gathering can put our children at risk — leaving their private information in jeopardy of being used for the wrong reasons.
In an effort to curb the information gathered on children online, a bipartisan coalition of 24 state attorneys general submitted a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The coalition asked that the rules for collecting personal information from children under the age of 13 be strengthened.
The group also asked for increased restrictions on using the information collected to track children using the internet. Website and mobile apps collect search history and location information from users and are then able to build user profiles on the youngest of internet users.
In a statement regarding the letter, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III said that “Without modification to the current rule, companies will continue to build profiles on children based on collected data. Those profiles will be used to target them for many decades to come.”
The attorneys general would also like the FTC to re-examine programs where companies provide laptops to schools. These school-issued laptops are often used through an agreement that the company who issued them can collect user data, allowing them additional access to students.
The coalition of attorneys general hopes to see improvement in the safety of our children online through their latest efforts. The group can be confident that there is a whole country full of concerned parents behind them.