Help Protect Your Child's Privacy

by Courtney Green | Sep 17, 2019 7:26:00 AM

When kids need to be entertained and parents are desperate
for a break, everyone looks to their nearest screen. TVs, computers and mobile
devices are go-to destinations for help in keeping the horizon quiet. They’re
also perfect platforms for pulling personal information.

A few weeks ago, YouTube and its parent company, Google, made
headlines after agreeing
to pay $170 million to settle allegations made by the Federal Trade Commission

that the video-sharing website collected children’s personal information
without their parents’ consent. Among the complaints filed by the FTC, YouTube
allegedly marketed itself to advertisers as popular with kids and tracked the
viewing history of their younger audiences so they could inundate them with
ads.

The FTC considers YouTube’s behavior a violation of
children’s privacy laws. It also serves as the latest unfortunate reminder that
what kids watch online isn’t always looking out for their best interests.

Keeping your kids safe as they navigate the internet can be
an ongoing and increasingly tough task. However, BBB offers some basics that
can help rein in unruly actions on the web.

  • See for yourself. Try to visit the
    websites your kids visit. You can see firsthand the kinds of information these
    sites may be collecting and allows their users to share. It’s also an
    opportunity to see what, if any, privacy policies are in place.


  • Have a conversation. Talking with your
    kids about how to interact online is one of the most effective ways of spotting
    and avoiding websites designed to collect and then misuse personal information.
    Have a discussion on the downside of sharing information online and lay out
    steps to take if they feel their information is being used harmfully.


  • Find a filter. Establishing parental
    settings can ensure your kids aren’t encountering websites that jeopardize
    their personal information. Many TVs, mobile devices and operating devices come
    with built in filters that allow you to curate the online destinations your
    kids can access.
  • Take action. If you come across a website
    you feel is wrongly marketing to your kids or has potentially taken their
    personal information without your consent, make sure to report it. Issuing your
    complaint
    directly to the Better Business Bureau
    can prevent other parents and kids
    from encountering the same issues.

Screen time is a prime time for underhanded tactics
targeting kids, including on some of the most mainstream sites in the internet.
Be aware of the pitfalls to keep your kids’ personal information out of the
wrong places.

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