TrustArc Blog

Parents Concerned About Kids’ Privacy But Still Post Pictures and Help Kids Register for Websites

April 01, 2015

Our latest survey of U.S. and British parents of pre-teen children uncovered some contradictory responses and actions related to their children’s online privacy.

According to this survey, parents say they’re concerned about their children’s online privacy, yet the majority of parents post pictures of their kids to social media websites, and nearly a quarter of both American and British parents say they have helped their child set up an account on a website that requires that children be older than 13.

And 66% of British parents and 69% of American parents surveyed said they post pictures of their children online.

Conversely, both British and American parents said they are concerned about their child’s privacy online (54 and 58 percent, respectively). One quarter of U.S. parents (24 percent) and British parents (25 percent) said they do not allow their children under the age of 13 to use the Internet due to concerns about their child’s online privacy.

Of these parents, American parents’ top concerns are that their child would be exposed to content online which is not appropriate (57%), followed by concern that their child would share personal information online (44%), or that their child might share personal information they would later regret (43%), or meet people online (42%).

British parents cited similar concerns, but also were more concerned about advertisers collecting information from their children. The top concern for these parents is that their child would be exposed to content online which is not appropriate (68%), followed by concern that their child would meet people online (52%), share personal information online (49%), or that their online behavior will be collected by companies for marketing purposes (48%).

However, 82% of American parents, and 80% of British parents said they believe it is their primary responsibility as parents or legal guardians to protect their child’s personal information on the Internet. Considering parents share pictures of their children online and help them register for social media websites, these survey results show that parents’ actions aren’t always consistent with their views on their children’s online privacy.

Websites that collect information from children under the age of 13 are required to comply with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Primarily, this rule requires the request of parental consent for the collection or use of any personal information of website users under the age of 13.

In the EU, the proposed EU Data Protection Regulation could impact the methods companies use to collect a child’s personal information online. Updates to the regulations are expected to include revised sections on defining a child online and obtaining parental consent.

TRUSTe’s COPPA/Kids’ Privacy Certification lets businesses demonstrate that their website or app is child-friendly while alleviating parental safety concerns and ensuring compliance with the COPPA rule.

Learn more about these survey results and TRUSTe products by viewing out latest news release.