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Pixalate on ABC7 News: The State of Children's Privacy Online

Mar 3, 2022 3:15:00 PM

Jalal Nasir, CEO of Pixalate, shared his thoughts on the state of children's privacy online with ABC7 News

Strong support for improving children's privacy online

Jalal Nasir, CEO of Pixalate, shared his views on children's privacy online with David Louie from ABC7 News. In the interview, Nasir expressed his concerns over children's privacy online and how parents, app stores, and regulators can improve it. He also shared data from a recent Harris Poll, conducted in conjunction with Pixalate, about how parents view children's online privacy.

"Half of the participants in the survey said that they do not regularly monitor what their kids do online. It was shocking because 80% of them said that they are concerned over their children's privacy online," said Nasir.  

The topic has the nation's interest. In his State of the Union speech, President Biden deeply emphasized the necessity to protect children against "surveillance advertising" and excessive data collection. 

80% of American parents worry about children's privacy online

The Harris Poll and Pixalate survey examined American parents’ views about children’s online privacy. It found that less than half of parents of children under 13 (48%) say they monitor their children’s activities on apps daily, while more than one-fifth (21%) say they never check to see if those apps track their children’s precise GPS location.

Despite those numbers, 80% of parents say they worry about their children's privacy when using those apps, with 73% saying they're concerned about their children's location being tracked. The results are particularly alarming because the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) requires app operators to provide notice about data collection practices and obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting personal information from children.

"The Harris Poll results should be a wake-up call considering the two largest app stores — Google Play and Apple — only provide a target age range for 200 apps at a time," stated Nasir. “Pixalate’s research shows there are nearly 400,000 child-directed apps in the Google and Apple app stores, about 40% of which collect sensitive data like geolocation. These poll results beg the question of whether the app operators are doing this with parental consent as required by COPPA.” 

The State of Children Privacy Online

Furthermore, Pixalate released a new report - Mobile Apps: Google vs. Apple COPPA Scorecard in Q4 2021 - to analyze nearly 400,000 child-directed apps across the Google Play Store and Apple App Store through the lens of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act ("COPPA"). The report revealed that:

  • 40% of child-directed apps request access to personal information
  • 12.7k child-directed apps request access to personal info but have no detected privacy policy
  • 63% of child-directed mobile apps are from unknown countries
  • 22% of Apple App Store child-directed apps have no detected privacy policy

Download the report for free to explore it in detail. 

Download Report

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Pixalate from February 10-14, 2022, among 465 U.S. adults ages 18 and older who are parents of children under age 13, among whom 435 say their children under 13 use online apps. This online survey is not based on a probability sample, and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact marketing@pixalate.com.

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