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“There are laws to protect children in the real world. We need our laws to protect children in the digital world too.” – UK Information Commissioner
Today the Information Commissioner’s Office has published its final Age Appropriate Design Code – a set of 15 standards that online services should meet to protect children’s privacy.
The code sets out the standards expected of those responsible for designing, developing or providing online services like apps, connected toys, social media platforms, online games, educational websites and streaming services. It covers services likely to be accessed by children and which process their data.
The code will require digital services to automatically provide children with a built-in baseline of data protection whenever they download a new app, game or visit a website.
Behind the cute characters, apps used by children can not only have the possibility of exposing them to age-inappropriate content or excessive in-app promotions, but may also make a large amount
of their personal information and online behaviour accessible to third party online marketing and advertising industry. Such practices are not unique to children’s apps, but young children are probably less capable of resisting the resulting personalised advertisements and game promotions.
Currently there are no effective ways to stop these tracking behaviours on mobile devices. However, there are things that parents/families can do by making more informed choices of apps.
Exploring play and creativity in pre-schoolers’ use of apps: Report for the children’s media industry
Read more at: http://www.techandplay.org/reports/TAP_Media_Report.pdf
The “Positive Content Criteria” are key aspects to consider when producing or providing online content and services for children: target group and age-appropriateness, attractiveness, usability, reliability, safety and privacy issues. There is also a checklist that provides a short overview of these aspects – please see below.
Touchscreen mobile devices (eg, smartphones, tablets) have become ubiquitous for young children.1 Interactive applications or “apps” considered “educational” for young children have similarly gained in popularity2 and are increasingly being integrated into early childhood classrooms as learning tools because of perceived advantages for child engagement and active learning.3 The integration of interactive app technology into children’s lives at home and school has outpaced research needed to inform comprehensive recommendations for its use. Recommendations have thus far focused on preventing overuse of screens4 rather than opportunities for maximizing learning. Research on whether young children can learn from interactive apps; the academic, cognitive, or social-emotional skill domains that may be best supported by interactive apps; and the conditions under which this learning may be maximized; is still emerging.
“Apps as Learning Tools: A Systematic Review”1 is a timely look, from a developmental and educational perspective, at the mobile device apps that even young children are using today. This review is as important to us in observing what we do not know as what we do.
In a year when we are celebrating 50 years of Sesame Street as an iconic, genre-defining educational television program, we need to be reminded of just how revolutionary it was and continues to be (and how it has set the gold standard for educational media). Sesame Street dramatically changed early childhood education not only because it made preschool learning available to everyone who had a television but also because it used the unique access and attraction of television to teach in theoretically based, research-proven ways. The genius of Sesame Street is simple: education scholars conducted formative research to design programming that was pedagogically sound, and once the shows were made and shown, they conducted summative research to evaluate how effectively the programming met intended goals.2 The success of Sesame Street drew imitators, some of which were good, but most of which simply aimed to cash in on the fact that parents would encourage their children to watch a television program that was labeled educational, whether there was any research supporting that claim or not. Although there is still no requirement that educational claims made about children’s media be backed by research, concerned consumers supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics motivated a reality check in 2009, forcing a recall and refund of Baby Einstein videos.3,4
Read more at:
• We estimate that the global kids digital advertising market will continue to grow in excess of 20% p.a. (2018-21). We estimate the market will be worth c.$1.7bn by 2021
• As kids’ media and content is increasingly consumed via desktop, mobile and tablet devices, we expect brands to move more advertising spend onto these digital platforms, and shift spend away from traditional (non-digital) channels
• Additionally, increasing regulatory requirements and awareness of the benefits of compliance support a shift in spend towards dedicated ‘kidtech’ players
In 2017, PwC released the ground-breaking Kids Digital Media Report, which estimated that the value of the global kids digital advertising market would hit $1.2bn by 2021. They have just released their latest report with updated data and trends. It’s a compelling read.
A staggering 170,000 children go online for the first time every day, driving considerable disruption across the media landscape. As children become a larger percentage of the daily internet audience, laws to protect them are expected to be passed with greater urgency. These increasing regulatory requirements support a shift in spend towards dedicated kidtech players, who provide privacy-centric solutions to the industry.
Today, in conjunction with a major new study that details a host of concerning practices in apps targeted to young children, CCFC and 21 other consumer and public health advocacy groups called on the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) to investigate the preschool app market.