1. Review the Product Detail Information in the App Stores
App storefronts contain important information about the mobile apps they offer, including:
- The company or individual that is offering or selling the app;
- Whether the app has been updated recently or if it has been months or even years since its last update;
- The permissions the app requires; and
Parents should not skip over this information.
2. Download the App with Your Child
4. Enter Accurate Age Information
Many apps that are intended for children ask for age information. Be sure your child’s correct age is entered. Apps may utilize this information to determine how to treat your child’s information. For example, under U.S. law, children under 13 are entitled to additional privacy protections. Specifically, if your child is under 13, the app developer must either restrict the information it collects from your child or provide you with notice and get your consent before it collects the information. If, however, you or your child enter an age of 13+, the app will treat your child as an adult from a privacy standpoint. This means the app will collect and use your child’s information the same way it would collect and use your information. It may also activate features of the app that are only available to users 13 and over, such as chat and account creation.
5. Look for a Safe Harbor Seal
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) empowers the Federal Trade Commission to designate Safe Harbor providers to certify that apps (and other online services, like websites) meet the requirements of the law. This means an independent third party has already taken the time to vet the app from a privacy standpoint. ESRB is one of the approved Safe Harbors, and we take our responsibility very seriously. If you see our Privacy Certified Kids Seal, you can feel confident your children’s privacy will be protected.