Office of Communications, Inc.

UCC Media Justice Update

Children and the Internet -- Good and Bad News

Yesterday, UCC OC Inc. joined two important efforts with children forefront in our minds.  We joined with our colleagues at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights as we spoke out in comments before the Federal Communications Commission in support of the President's ConnectED proposal to increase the Internet capacity of schools and libraries around the country. 

On a different note, we joined with a wide array of consumer, children's and privacy advocates to ask the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to protect teens from marketing.  Much has been published lately about "big data" and its power in the modern day.  While we are concerned about adults and children, teens are particularly susceptible to marketing from their peer groups, and Facebook recently changed its policy with regard to teens.

On the good news front for kids and privacy, this summer the FTC adopted strengthened rules to protect children's privacy.  Companies should be complying with these rules already.  If you have kids, keep an eye out -- see if the online media your child uses complies with the new rules.  Check out Center for Digital Democracy's Parent's Guide.  Here are a few highlights, download the guide for the full story:

  • Talk with your children about what they do and where they go online, as well as what apps they download on their mobile phones. Make sure that the media they are engaging with is age-appropriate.
  • Explain to them that they need to be very careful about what they post online about themselves.
  • Be wary of websites, mobile apps, and other child-oriented digital media that ask for a lot of personal information that does not seem necessary.
  • Be especially careful about your children’s use of mobile phones. Mobile apps should never ask your child to give permission for collection of her location without first obtaining your permission.
    • Some apps may be “free” to download, but once children begin playing with them, they may be prompted by the app to purchase multiple items in the game (“virtual goods”). This practice can rack up a very high bill without parents knowing.
  • Review the privacy policies of all the websites and digital devices your children use to make sure you are comfortable about the safety, security, and privacy protections provided on them.
Categories: broadband for everyone  |  Children  |  privacy

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