YouTube is reportedly the subject of a Federal Trade Commission complaint. According to a BBC report, “YouTube has been accused of violating child protection laws in the US, by a collection of 23 consumer, child safety and privacy advocacy groups.”
The report added: “The coalition has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleging that YouTube collects data from children aged under 13. … It said YouTube was ‘skirting the law and profiting off of children without parents’ knowledge or consent’.”
When you register for a YouTube account, the site asks if you are 13 years of age or older. Kids may routinely lie about this, as YouTube does not require verification.
The report continued: “The group alleges that YouTube collects location data and the browsing habits of its users — even if they are children — and uses it to target advertising,”
Is there a way for YouTube to institute a verification process that would not be burdensome? It’s hard to imagine one. However, parents can and should be monitoring their child’s internet browsing — especially on sites like YouTube.
An FTC complaint on this issue sure sounds like a demand that YouTube do the work that adult supervision should be handling.
And if you aren’t comfortable with YouTube collecting data from kids who have lied about their age — or if you are uncomfortable with a company for any reason at all related to minors – it’s up to you as a parent to protect your dependents.
The YouTube registration process asks if you’re 13 or older. There are plenty of other situations in this country where that’s all the law requires.
If you allow your kids to lie while registering, don’t go running to the government because YouTube took them at their word. It’s your failure.