DEVELOPER TIP: Talk to Parents & Children and Don’t be Afraid to Engage them

Protecting the privacy of our children is paramount. The new Student Digital Privacy & Innovation Act, which made the headlines in the last few weeks, highlights how Government legislation attempts to keep up with the fast paced change of the online industry. In 2013, we saw revisions to COPPA, which updated the definition of PII to include more user-generated content. While online providers and mobile application developers are busy complying with legislation it is also important to remember to “talk” to parents and children.

A compliant privacy policy is not the same as supporting parents to understand how their child is interacting with an app.  Education starts with parents and if parents aren’t fully aware of the privacy issues their children face then they’re not equipped to support them. Children are often net savvy and digitally adept, far more so than many adults but they are not always emotionally mature enough to deal with some of the issues they face online.  So providing clear parent information is key.

DigitalFamily_MediumGet parents on your side by supporting them with easy to read language and icons that addresses their concerns and gives them transparency into the service you provide. If you have parents buy in for your online service you are likely to increase engagement and build trust for your brand, whether you are building apps for pre-schoolers or worlds for tweens, learn to address parents too. Forget the jargon and legalise and tell them in plain English what you are collecting and why. Create a parents section. Don’t just rely on a link to the privacy policy that will probably not win their support or buy in the same way.

In the fast evolving digital world, many developers have shied away from seeking consent from parents for participation from kids. In the past, gaining consent was seen to hinder game play and resulted in drop off. Maybe that was the case, however today this is a misconception. User interfaces have developed along with the knowledge gained from user experience and testing. A developer can now provide apps that are both compliant and build engagement, providing a child a more rich experience.

Consent management is more sophisticated than ever, with sliding scale consent that allow the user in to play, engages them and can then seek permission when a feature triggers the need for verified parent consent. Those developers who fail to embrace this are missing out.  Embrace consent and open up your apps to younger users. If you have parent buy in for your service, you are likely to increase engagement, LTV and build trust for your brand.

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