It’s official! After months of extensive auditing, testing, and assessments on both our smartwatches and Parent App, we’re excited to share that TickTalk is officially COPPA certified by an FTC-approved Safe Harbor Program! Making the TickTalk 4 one of only a few kids smartwatch phones to be fully COPPA certified to give your family the peace of mind you deserve.
What is COPPA?
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rule “designed to ensure that parents remain in control of personal information collected from their young children online.” COPPA applies to any online services or products that collect information from children under 13 years old, including products, apps, websites, and games, and provides clear guidelines on how children’s information is used, disclosed, and protected.
Why is it important to be COPPA Certified?
Only a select number of online services can call themselves COPPA Certified (and our kids smart watch phones are one of them!). To be COPPA Certified, your services must “meet and exceed federal expectations” when it comes to data privacy. This includes:
- Notifying parents and guardians about our data collection practices before collecting any information from you or your child
- Getting parents and guardians verifiable parental consent before collecting any information from you or your child
- Passing an audit that we are only collecting the absolute minimum amount of information necessary for your products to work
- Honoring parents’ rights when it comes to collecting personal information from your child including reviewing the information we collect and how you can go about deleting that information
- Implementing tactics to safeguard your child’s personal information’s confidentiality, security, and integrity once it is collected
- Passing a manual assessment of your products and services to ensure that children’s information is protected
- Passing a technical assessment on any online service, including your products, apps, and e-commerce website, to ensure that both parents’ and children’s personal information are safeguarded
Why does it matter?
Our children have a right to privacy, but in the digital age, it isn’t guaranteed. Long before they’ll be of age to consent, there will be a mass amount of information collected from them, creating all-encompassing digital profiles. These profiles are cumulative data banks of information we’ve willingly entered (like our names, email addresses, and birth dates), but also information that’s collected automatically like your location, your behaviors, and even your actions across other websites that can be used against you.
These profiles are used to exploit children for behaviorally targeted advertising. Researchers recently found that Facebook allowed them to target teens who were labeled as “interested in gambling” with ads containing poker chips and dice, while others targeted them with ads for alcohol, smoking, and eating disorders. Adults have a hard time competing with the algorithm (we’ve all been stuck in an Instagram-scroll vortex) and children don’t have a fighting chance.
Still not convinced?
If you’re still thinking, “Meh, not a big deal,” we encourage you to do two things:
- Google your name + city: If you aren’t alarmed by how much information comes up about you, we applaud you.
- Look at your Google Profile: Go to Google.com, click the icon in the upper right-hand corner with your initials, and select “Manage My Account.” Click on “Privacy & Personalization,” scroll down to “Ad Settings,” and select “Ad Personalization.” Now scroll and see all the different information that has been collected to create just your Google profile 🤯