Many child safety advocates are working hard to improve safety online for kids. Part of this effort is from those working on COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) to protect the privacy of children under the age of 13.
Why does COPPA matter? Many websites that your child visits collect personal information and data about your child for the purposes of targeted advertising and messaging. Think about that. What kind of ads or messaging is your child being exposed to? What kind of influence may they have? Where does this personal information go? Is a profile being created about your child?
Children are vulnerable. Children are naive and trusting. It’s a parent’s responsibility to guide their children in this newly navigated world of the internet and know what’s going on, what websites their children are visiting, and protect their children from exploitation including advertising. If your child is logging into a site that requires your child to be 13 to join and use the site, then it’s most likely collecting information and data for marketing purposes. Facebook is one of these sites. Many kids lie about their age to create a FB profile. Many kids have more than one FB profile, one for their parents and one for their friends. Keep your eyes wide open. Be aware of what your children are doing online. What they do now can affect their future.
Kids don’t know about the behind the scenes collection of information, but you as a parent need to and teach them to protect personal information. Teach them about targeted advertising. This is their world and they need to learn to navigate it armed with this knowledge so that they can make better decisions that can impact their future.