Did you know that the FTC came out with another report, slapping the industry’s wrist about children’s online privacy? They say that not enough apps are disclosing what they do (or do not do) with data. This is getting tiring, especially after all of the efforts by family-friendly developers to do the right thing by creating a set of iconic disclosures. Shall we review, so we can help tackle this?
Please visit Settings > General > Restrictions on your iDevice, and set up your mobile computing framework to be family-friendly. That might mean turning off wi-fi, in app purchases, or any content not rated 4+. Also, co-play and parent participation help us learn how kids are navigating online. The FTC has also provided parent resources, including “Six Tips for Using Apps With Kids“.
Please provide a standard place to designate app features in the body of app descriptions. Consider items such as social media connectivity, ads, in app purchases, 3rd party services, location, or personal information as fields a developer can “check” if they are included in the app. Also, please consider having a Kids App Store, so that sensitive privacy issues can be handled separately from the thousands of random apps available.
Instead of telling us what we aren’t doing right, please give more specific examples of what we ARE doing right, by means of providing a superb example disclosure, or a set of industry standards that you would support. Specifically, where you put “Tips for Parents” on your website, could you also include “Tips for Developers” along with examples of privacy disclosures you endorse?
Rest of World
Know that any efforts to be an educator, or an advocate, of great content for kids is a huge contribution to parents, kids, and the app economy. Please continue to shine the spotlight on initiatives that make a difference.
On the Spot
Today I participated in the conversation with KQED, our public broadcasting station in the Bay Area, to answer their questions about kids’ online privacy and my reaction to the FTC Report. Here is the four minute interview (graciously edited) with Stephanie Martin.