Is YouTube collecting data on children?
A complaint has been filed by a group of 23 child advocacy, consumer and privacy groups, against the US Federal Trade Commission, saying that Google is breaking child protection laws by collecting and advertising to under 13-year olds.
One of the groups filing the complaint is Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC).
CCFC educates the public about commercialism’s impact on kid’s wellbeing and advocates for the end of child-targeted marketing. The organisation was founded in 2000 by Dr Susan Linn and a group of educators, health care professionals and parents.
The movement aims to end the marketing targeting children and promote a healthy childhood away from marketing pressures. CCFC believe society has a role and responsibility towards the wellbeing of children and want to reduce children’s screen time and steer them towards more creative play and a connection with nature.
The coalition of 23 have stated that Google is collecting personal information on children under 13, their location, devices they use, phone numbers etc and tracks which websites they use, without informing parents.
This is against the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (Coppa).
Google is profiting by delivering ads to kids without complying to Coppa’s rules.
YouTube has become the most popular online platform for children in the US and is used by 80% of children aged 6-12 years old. Google has an app for children called YouTube Kids which shows appropriate content and ads to children.
Children under 13 however still use the YouTube main channel. The YouTube content most viewed by young children is ChuChuTV Nursery Rhymes & Kids Songs with 15.9 subscribers and LittleBabyBum with 14.6 subscribers.
YouTube still maintains
“Because YouTube is not for children, we’ve invested significantly in the creation of the YouTube Kids app to offer an alternative specifically designed for children”.
Parents ultimately need to monitor their children’s online choices.