Children’s Privacy Violations Online: What Can Parents Do About It

Every day, it seems like a new company is being charged with violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. While many parents feel that there’s nothing they can do about this, there are many approaches one can take — such as using a VPN router, never using public Wi-Fi, and more — to help keep their child safe online.

In this article, we explain what you can do to keep your kid’s online presence protected. Don’t rely on companies or websites to do the job for you. Instead, with these simple methods, you can be assured your child’s sensitive information online is safe!

Why Your Child’s Online Privacy Is Important

It goes without saying that your child’s privacy while online is crucial. Too often, we’ve seen many big corporations and online websites abuse the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act in various ways. Both Microsoft and Amazon have settled with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) because of their violations regarding how they’ve utilized children’s sensitive online information.

Through the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, your child has the right to keep their information safe while scrolling online — and you have the right to protect them from these companies. Thanks to this act, companies must ensure that parental consent is given to every child using a website, service, or app.

These companies cannot hold on to your child’s information longer than necessary. Companies like Microsoft and Amazon have often violated this, as they’ve kept children’s information — such as birthdays, full names, email addresses, and more — for much longer than needed.

Sometimes, these companies have even planned to keep this information forever.

Obviously, that’s not what any parent wants. Kids should be able to safely play a game with their Microsoft account or use Amazon to read books on their Kindle with no problem. But as we can’t necessarily trust these companies to do what is right — or legal — it’s up to parents to be aware of how important their child’s privacy is online.

Beware of Parental Control Apps

Parental control apps often are touted as lifesavers for parents worried about their children going online. After all, these apps are designed to keep kids safe while on the internet!

Unfortunately, even these apps aren’t enough to keep your child’s information 100% secure from bad actors.

In 2023, the popular Kids App was found to have various security flaws that allowed hackers to gain children’s information and send files through to a child’s device without their parents ever knowing. As the app’s mission is to keep things like this happening, that’s a failure across the board.

So, if you’re using a parental control app similar to Kids App, you should always be aware that while it could keep your child’s information from misuse, it’s not a completely foolproof method to rely on.

How to Protect Your Kids From Online Privacy Violations

It’s disheartening to see just how parental control apps can fail. But there are other wonderful methods designed to protect your kids from online privacy violations!

These methods include:

  • Setting up a VPN Router. A VPN router in your home allows various devices to connect to it, which is vital for any family. VPNs encrypt any data that goes in or out of your device, so it can keep hackers and bad actors at bay. Most importantly, it can help encrypt and hide any sensitive information your child may put online when creating accounts, signing up for apps, and more! Using a VPN router is also recommended if you’re tracking your child’s location using a GPS tracker, as this is very sensitive information you don’t want others easily accessing!
  • Invest in good security. Hackers have the most success on unsecure computers and devices. So, ensure all your devices have high-quality antivirus software and security programs. This is just added security to help your child have a safe way to browse the internet or play games online.
  • Get an ad blocker. If you’re still nervous that your child might click the wrong thing while scrolling online, get an ad blocker. This will block all potentially harmful ads — that could download viruses on your device — that your child might accidentally click!
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi. Tell your kids to avoid using public Wi-Fi when they’re out and about. Instead, they should keep their internet use to when they’re at home — and safely on their password-protected Wi-Fi!
  • Talk with your kids. As your children get older, it’s helpful to sit them down and talk to them about proper and safe internet use. They can have fun online while still staying safe! Ensure that you’re giving parental consent when needed, such as when they’re creating accounts. Always be aware of what your child is doing while online!

In Conclusion

Let your children have fun online while ensuring their information is safe! While it’s never fun to see how corporations unlawfully use our kids’ information, there are things that we can all do to

keep this from happening. With these methods listed in this article — such as using a VPN router and investing in good security — you can rest easy knowing your child’s sensitive information online is safe!

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