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.
Read more at: http://www.positivecontent.eu/positive-content-criteria-checklist/
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.
Read more at: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/145/1/e20191579
“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:
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.
Read more at: https://www.superawesome.com/2019/06/11/pwc-kids-digital-media-report-2019-estimates-global-kids-digital-advertising-market-will-be-worth-1-7bn-by-2021/
he following health and safety tips are from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Feel free to excerpt these tips or use them in their entirety in any print or broadcast story, with acknowledgment of source.
In a world where children are “growing up digital,” it’s important to help them learn healthy concepts of digital use and citizenship. Parents play an important role in teaching these skills. Here are a few tips from the AAP to help families manage the ever-changing digital landscape.
- Make your own family media use plan. Media should work for you and within your family values and parenting style. When used thoughtfully and appropriately, media can enhance daily life. But when used inappropriately or without thought, media can displace many important activities such as face-to-face interaction, family-time, outdoor-play, exercise, unplugged downtime and sleep. Make your plan at HealthyChildren.org/MediaUsePlan.
Read more at: https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Children-and-Media-Tips.aspx
In our study of kids’ Android apps, we observed that a majority of apps specifically targeted at kids may be violating U.S. privacy law: the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). In response to this revelation, many companies that we named in our paper have responded by stating that they are not covered by the law because either their apps are not directed at children or they have no knowledge that any of their users are children. As a broader issue, we have also noticed that many companies appear to turn a blind eye to COPPA compliance by stating in their privacy policies that their obviously-child-directed apps are not directed at children.
As I’ll explain in this post, these excuses are disingenuous at best and outright lies at worst: for every app that we examined, the developer took proactive steps to market their apps to children under 13, and therefore appear to be subject to COPPA because their apps are “directed” at children.
Read more at: https://blog.appcensus.io/2018/05/08/our-childrens-apps-arent-directed-at-children/
The link to the relative paper: https://blues.cs.berkeley.edu/blog/2018/04/25/wont-somebody-think-of-the-children-examining-coppa-compliance-at-scale/
Today’s children and adolescents are immersed in both traditional and new forms of digital media. Research on traditional media, such as television, has identified health concerns and negative outcomes that correlate with the duration and content of viewing. Over the past decade, the use of digital media, including interactive and social media, has grown, and research evidence suggests that these newer media offer both benefits and risks to the health of children and teenagers. Evidence-based benefits identified from the use of digital and social media include early learning, exposure to new ideas and knowledge, increased opportunities for social contact and support, and new opportunities to access health promotion messages and information. Risks of such media include negative health effects on sleep, attention, and learning; a higher incidence of obesity and depression; exposure to inaccurate, inappropriate, or unsafe content and contacts; and compromised privacy and confidentiality. This technical report reviews the literature regarding these opportunities and risks, framed around clinical questions, for children from birth to adulthood. To promote health and wellness in children and adolescents, it is important to maintain adequate physical activity, healthy nutrition, good sleep hygiene, and a nurturing social environment. A healthy Family Media Use Plan (www.healthychildren.org/MediaUsePlan) that is individualized for a specific child, teenager, or family can identify an appropriate balance between screen time/online time and other activities, set boundaries for accessing content, guide displays of personal information, encourage age-appropriate critical thinking and digital literacy, and support open family communication and implementation of consistent rules about media use.
Read the full paper online at: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/138/5/e20162593
What is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule?
Congress enacted the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in 1998. COPPA required the Federal Trade Commission to issue and enforce regulations concerning children’s online privacy. The Commission’s original COPPA Rule became effective on April 21, 2000. The Commission issued an amended Rule on December 19, 2012. The amended Rule took effect on July 1, 2013.
The primary goal of COPPA is to place parents in control over what information is collected from their young children online. The Rule was designed to protect children under age 13 while accounting for the dynamic nature of the Internet. The Rule applies to operators of commercial websites and online services (including mobile apps) directed to children under 13 that collect, use, or disclose personal information from children, and operators of general audience websites or online services with actual knowledge that they are collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children under 13. The Rule also applies to websites or online services that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information directly from users of another website or online service directed to children. Read more at: