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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : February 17, 2012

FTC demands better privacy disclosures for kids' apps

Children are increasingly being given access to new mobile technology and mobile apps. But are those apps safe for children to use? In many cases parents aren't made aware of any risks related to the collection, use and sharing of their children's personal information.

by Helen Leggatt

android-app-store.jpgThat's why the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are looking to make app developers disclose basic information about their apps to allow parents to make more informed decisions about whether they are appropriate for children.

Four years ago just a few hundred apps were available for smartphone users to download. Today there are hundreds of thousands that have been downloaded over 28 billion times.

Many apps are now targeted at children, children that are being introduced to technology by their parents as early as age 2, according to research from the Parenting Group. Their research discovered that children of Generation Y moms are being introduced to technology much earlier in life than those born of Generation X parents.

However, many of those parents are in the dark when it comes to whether user information is being collected by apps used by their kids. That's why the FTC is calling on the mobile download industry to provide greater transparency about their data practices.

"FTC staff believes that all members of the kids app ecosystem - the app stores, developers, and third parties providing services within the apps - should play an active role in providing key information to parents who download apps," recommends the FTC in its report entitled "Mobile Apps for Kids: Current Privacy Disclosures are Disappointing.

"The mobile app marketplace is growing at a tremendous speed, and many consumer protections, including privacy and privacy disclosures, have not kept pace with this development. Parents need easy access to basic information so they can make informed decisions about the apps they allow their children to use."

Tags: children, data collection, mobile apps, mobile usage, parenting, privacy, smartphone, tablet, technology

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