In this article, we’ll be discussing the different ways businesses are collecting children’s data in 2022…
Living in the modern age has benefits, but it also brings a fresh set of challenges for safeguarding children. These days, children are online from a young age and although they may just be signing up for games and social media platforms, this can also risk their data being compromised.
There are certain businesses and companies that are using the data of children in a very dishonest way. It’s important to shine a light on these types of people if any real change is going to be brought about. Furthermore, breaches of children’s personal data are often the basis for lawsuits, so it’s worth knowing a little more.
Children and Personal Data
First and foremost, it is important to understand the rules regarding children and personal data.
Under current law, children have the same rights as adults when it comes to deciding how personal information is collected, stored, and used. This means that children have the right to opt out of having their personal data collected if they so choose.
The only real stipulation for this is that children have to be old enough to make informed decisions about their data. If not, they need to seek the advice of an adult.
Who Collects Personal Information About Children?
As long as a company follows the data protection laws that were created, there is nothing wrong with collecting personal information from children for the sake of analytics. However, that’s often not the case. There are many companies which collect data and use it in an unlawful way.
One of the most high-profile cases in recent history involves the social media platform TikTok. The company recently came under fire for wrongfully processing the personal information of nearly millions of children. The data collection and processing methods were in direct violation of GDPR.
However, much like adults, there are lots of businesses and industries that collect personal information of children for research purposes or analytics. Social media sites, technology companies like Google, and anywhere else where children are required to input personal information will often use it to determine what percentage of their user base is children.
The most frequent reason why this is the case is often for the sake of generating demographics that businesses can use for advertising purposes. It can also be simply for collecting analytical information; the intentions of each company vary.
How to Protect Your Children’s Data
There are certain things you can do to help protect the personal information of your children while they are using online services. Let’s take a look at some of them.
First of all, make sure that you talk to your children about their personal information from a young age. Make sure they understand the safest thing to do is to deny any company the right to take their personal information and use it for other purposes.
If you are acting on their behalf, it is sensible to try and opt out of any data collection practices that you encounter. Showing them what to do is also a good idea because it gives them an understanding of how these navigation menus work.
Protecting Your Children’s Personal Data
Protecting your children from having their personal data used in a dishonest way is one of your responsibilities as a parent. Education is your best weapon in this regard, as constantly reinforcing the idea they need to be vigilant will help them to grow up and understand how data protection works.
There are steps you can take to protect the personal data of your children. Obviously, you need to be vigilant and teach them how to do it themselves. However, you do have to actively opt out of data collection because otherwise, it does it automatically.
As children are spending increasing amounts of time online, it’s important to begin teaching them these lessons early. The importance of consent in data collection cannot be overstated, and businesses need to be more transparent about their practices when dealing with children. However, until that time, educating your children is the best way to prevent their information from being taken without consent.