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Kids’ Advertising Will be a $1.2 Billion Industry Worldwide in 2021

A new report commissioned by kidtech group, SuperAwesome has yielded fascinating results about the future of children’s advertising. The report—researched and authored by PricewaterhouseCoopers (“PWC”)—projects that kids’ advertising will increase 20% globally by 2021; that’s an estimated $1.2 billion market.
Children’s advertising is shifting from more traditional methods like television to digital platforms, like YouTube. However, while TV advertising is declining, it still reaches a substantial portion of kids under age thirteen. Currently, the highest investment into kids’ content is channeled into subscription-based video on-demand services (think: Netflix and Amazon).A staggering $2-3 billion dollars per year is invested into creating this content, which is not ad-funded.
It’s no surprise that, as technology has evolved and become more accessible, kids are spending increasingly more time online and are one of the fastest growing markets (one-third of internet users are children!).…
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Apple’s New Privacy Measures Aim to Limit Tracking and Ads in Kid-Focused Apps

On Monday (6/3) at Apple’s 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference, the company announced its new kid-focused privacy changes. Apple now requires developers to place advertisements, links that lead out of the apps and purchasing opportunities behind parental gates, which ideally can only be accessed by parents.

Additionally, once a mobile app is added in the App Store’s Kids Category, even if the developer later chooses to remove the app from the category, the app will still be required to follow the Kids Category's privacy requirements. This will ensure that all the apps that are labeled as being for-children when downloaded will remain so after all subsequent updates. Developers are also barred from using third-party advertising or analytics in apps that appear in the Kids Category (presumably to reduce tracking).

Last but not least, Apple urged developers to be mindful of privacy laws in the various jurisdictions where they collect data from kids.

These changes are definitely a s…

Amazon Now Allows Users to Easily Delete Voice Recordings

Following recent complaints submitted to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by industry groups, including the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CCD), regarding Amazon’s alleged Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) violations, Amazon has been making some changes. Amazon is creating new commands to easily allow users to delete their information.  Commands such as “Alexa, delete everything I said today” and “Alexa, delete what I just said.”

Until now, the only way to delete recordings was to either go through the app and delete the recordings one-by-one, or go through the website in order to delete every recording at once.

Amazon has also launched the “Alexa Privacy Hub” that focuses on helping users learn more about the privacy features of Echo devices and also provides a link to the “Alexa Privacy Settings” where the user can delete existing recordings.

These changes are definitely a step in the right direction, we will c…

Consumer Advocates Claim Amazon Kids Doesn't Make the Grade

Recent research commissioned by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy allege that the Echo Dot Kids Edition's privacy practices violate the  Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a federal law protecting the personal information of people under 13. The industry groups lodged the complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) arguing that amongst other things, Amazon fails to obtain proper parental consent to use children's data.

You can read a copy of the Echo Kids Privacy complaint online.

Advocates believe ‘Kidfluencers’ Deserve Same Protections as Other Child Stars

Although there are child labor laws in California that are designed to protect child stars from exploitation (The Coogan Act), the same protections don't always apply to child YouTube and Instagram stars, or “kidfluencers.” Kidfluencers accounts are usually run by their parents since platforms like YouTube and Instagram have age limits of 13 years old. One consequence of not owning their accounts is that all profits received go directly to the guardians and, unlike traditional child actors in California, these guardians are not required to set aside some of the profits for the children. Advocates like Paul Petersen, believe the legal protections like those in California should apply to children outside of the state. Petersen has said that because YouTube is in San Bruno, California and they are paying to broadcast children, California law must apply to those child stars.

Many guardians of kidfluencers feel these regulations are unnecessary and that the guardians are doing most of…

New Health Guidelines Focus on Limiting a Child’s Sedentary Screen Time

Recently the World Health Organization (WHO) released new health guidelines for children under five years old. The WHO now recommends that caregivers limit “sedentary screen time” to no more than one hour per day. Although some may have thought these new recommendations were grounded in the unhealthiness of the looking at screens or the content kids are watching—that is not actually the case. The WHO has made it clear that these recommendations are about replacing the sedentary act of watching a screen with more active activities. The reports states, “Replacing restrained or sedentary screen time with more moderate- to vigorous intensity physical activity, while preserving sufficient sleep, can provide additional health benefits.”

In spite of the WHO believing both screen-based sedentary time and non-screen based sedentary time are associated with outcomes like impaired motor, cognitive, and psychosocial development, it has not been able to confidently say whether one is worse than t…

Facebook Agrees to Place Age-Gating Mechanism in Mobile App to Prevent Children from Falsifying Age

After CARU recommended that Facebook, Inc. modify its mobile app to improve its mechanism to prevent underage users from circumventing the age screen, Facebook complied and made the necessary changes. Historically websites have used session cookies to prevent children from going back and changing their age, but until CARU examined its mobile app, Facebook did not implement a mechanism to prevent children from circumventing the age screen. Previously on the app, when a registrant entered a birthday corresponding to an age younger than 13, a message denied registration. However, the registrant was immediately able to change the originally-entered date of birth and continue attempts until a valid age was chosen that allowed registration.

Although mobile technology is still developing and companies are working hard to adapt traditional privacy principles to this new age, CARU Director, Dona J. Fraser said, “We are pleased that Facebook now becomes the first company working with CARU to i…