Children’s Rights and Parent Permission Drive Conversation and Industry Call:
“Yes, You Can!”
February 4, 2021
Nearly 200 media industry leaders, government regulatory agency heads from around the world and privacy advocates attended the first ever child and teen focused Data Privacy Day Summit sponsored by Privacy Vaults Online (PRIVO).
The advocates are driving a call to action for reliable age verification, meaningful consent and responsible data collection— with the proliferation of children using online social media and gaming sites higher than ever (a 70% increase according to Forbes and other research).
These world-leading experts discussed key regulations, both U.S. and European, engagement best practices, failures of industry to respond, trends and tools and agreed to a call for a “change of mindset and practices” when it comes to engaging with younger children and teens. The event helped practitioners share opportunities and competitive advantages to be gained by those companies that responsibly engage with the fastest growing user segment online. “Yes You Can!” engage with children safely was the rallying cry.
The kick-off panel included Jim Trilling with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Division of Privacy and Identity Protection on COPPA and Anna Morgan, Head of Legal Affairs and Deputy Commissioner from the Irish Data Protection Commission discussing GDPR implications. Claire Quinn, VP of Compliance for PRIVO, drove the discussion along with Tony Stower, from 5Rights Foundation in the UK and Jeff Brennan with Vettd. .
Claire Quinn from PRIVO noted, “It’s about taking a holistic approach (to kids’ privacy) and companies getting it right— right out of the gate. We work to align the regulations and the commercial need and we do this every day. Companies that join PRIVO's COPPA Safe Harbor put their head above the parapet. They are on the front lines of this battle to protect children’s privacy,” she said. “We very much value the work of the FTC and believe it needs the resources to ensure oversight and enforcement,” noted Quinn. “PRIVO’s strength is to support online services to get in shape and remediate any issues so that they protect children and can be certified compliant through our Kids Privacy Assured program”.
Amelia Vance, with the Future of Privacy Forum, spoke about student privacy in 2021 and beyond. She talked about how we saw why privacy mattered more than ever during this pandemic and shared how student privacy laws are likely to change.
Denise G. Tayloe, Co-Founder and CEO of PRIVO, led an industry panel with David Kleeman and Adam Woodgate with Dubit, a children’s research and digital agency. Tayloe asked Dubit to get down to brass tacks and discuss how the child adoption trends match up to regulations involving minors' access online, detailing how industry can change, get it right and move on with engaging youth or blocking minors’ access when appropriate.
“All of these devices are doing expansive harvesting and profiling,” said Tayloe. “We are monetizing children’s data, and it needs to be halted.” Profiling and trafficking are commonplace; but PRIVO also advocates for the protection of children from bombardment of advertising, and datafication.
According to Dubit, Instagram, one of the many social platforms that claim it does not allow children under the age of 13 to create an account, had 25 percent of children between the ages of 8-10 years old in the past week, say they have been actively using the platform (often logging in through a Facebook log-in). It was also reported, 43 percent of families responded that their children have been on Tik-Tok in the last week. Tik-Tok had to pay record fines of more than $5.7 million for violating child privacy protections following an FTC’s action in February of 2019.
“We now live in a world with an estimated 25 billion connected devices worldwide,” said child online safety advocate Tayloe. “Many of those devices are now in the hands of children. The datafication of families and children is not only happening because families use apps, search engines, or social media, but also because, the society around them is increasingly becoming automated and data driven and family life is being surveilled, tracked, and analyzed in almost unimaginable ways.”
Tayloe concluded the event with a call to action saying it’s time for companies to get their heads out of the sand, collectively adopt new frameworks, embrace new design codes and help strengthen privacy literacy. Tayloe continued, “Children are digital natives, not digital experts. We need ‘Heroes’ who will champion children’s privacy and be part of our new global consortium protecting digital identities and fostering responsible engagement for minors and their families.'Yes we can' all do a better job at protecting children online, ensuring greater safety and privacy. The time is now to act.”