YouTube is paying $170 million fine for allegedly collecting children’s data without their parents’ permission.
But while the video platform pays up — too little, some argue — many parents don’t know much about the rules it allegedly broke. With an estimated 83% of American kids ages 6 to 12 watching YouTube daily, it’s probably time to find out.
YouTube is settling a case alleging it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a 21-year old federal law that requires parental consent before companies can collect and share data on viewers under age 13.
YouTube — owned by Alphabet GOOG, +0.54% GOOGL, +0.46%, Google’s parent company — isn’t admitting liability in the settlement. But it is making changes. That includes limiting data collection for anyone watching children’s content, regardless of how old they might be. It also means the end of personalized ads on these videos.
Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, said it’s a positive step that children will be subjected to less targeted advertising on the popular site, but he was disappointed regulators weren’t demanding broader changes.
“A plethora of parental concerns about YouTube — from inappropriate content and recommendations to excessive screen time — can all be traced to Google’s business model of using data to maximize watch-time and ad revenue,” he said.
But parents can also address those concerns by making sure the sites their kids visit follow COPPA. Here’s what to know about the law and how to find sites that follow it.
Why is it important to go to websites following COPPA’s terms?
America has federal laws protecting privacy in specific contexts — like access to someone’s medical information — but it doesn’t have a law offering blanket protections.
COPPA is one of those specific carve outs, according