As a new generation increasingly uses the internet, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns parents that mobile applications for smart phones and tablets are siphoning children's data and sharing it. In most cases, the applications' developers do not disclose whether data is being collected, with whom it is being shared nor how it is used.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a study called "Mobile Apps for Kids - Disclosures Still Not Making the Grade," nearly 60 percent of children's applications available from the iTunes store and Google Play that were examined by researchers "... failed to provide any information about the data collected through the app, let alone the type of data collected, the purpose of the collection and who would obtain access to the data."
The BBB offers the following tips for keeping children's information safe prior to using an app:
- Check into the app before downloading. It is important to research and look into the details, such as the developer information and privacy policies.
- Be aware of the service of the app. Many free apps are used for advertising purposes and as a result can lead to different, unexpected pages without your permission. Make sure that the app does not bring your child to an unwanted page.
- Monitor how much your children share. Look into the amount of information that your children are sharing over the app and make sure that you are comfortable with that information being released to cyber space.
- Check out a company with the BBB. Prior to purchasing an app, always check reviews on www.bbb.org.