FTC Settles With Kids’ Social Networking Site, Online Advertiser Network

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The Federal Trade Commission has reached two privacy settlements with the following online companies:

  • Skid-e-kids, a social networking site for children. The FTC accused the site of collecting personal information from 5,600 kids without parental permission. This is a violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act that forbids Internet companies from allowing children under 13 to register and provide personal information (date of birth, email address, home address, first and last name, etc.). The social networking site targets children ages 7-14 and lets them create public posts, upload pictures and videos, and “friend” and send messages to other Skid-e-kids members.
  • ScanScout, an online video advertising network. The FTC charged ScanScout with deceptively claiming that consumers could opt out of receiving ads by changing their computer’s web browser settings to block cookies. But the FTC alleged that ScanScout used Flash cookies that users couldn’t block on their browsers. ScanScout engages in behavioral advertising — it collects information about consumers’ online activities and then serves video ads targeted to their interests.

Safety Resources

What are some things you can do to keep your kids safe online? The FTC has a new publication entitled Living Life Online to help tweens, teens, and parents all navigate online safely. There are other ways to keep your kids safe, such as following Larry Magid and reading his SafeKids blog. Also, parents should bookmark this incredibly useful PBS resource for keeping kids safer online.

For parents and all other Internet consumers, the FTC also released a new consumer education article entitled “Cookies: Leaving a Trail on the Web,” which explains how cookies are used to connect your online activities over time, and how you can control information about your browsing.

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Elaine Rigoli

Elaine Rigoli is PRIVATE WiFi's manager of digital content strategy.