Cover of the report with two young girls looking at tablet.

2023 State of Kids' Privacy

Consumer interest in how apps and platforms use and sell personal information is at an all-time high, but there's also a significant lack of understanding. In part, that's because the complex ways companies collect, sell, and share their data for the purpose of making money aren't fully understood by companies themselves or accurately explained to parents, caregivers, and families.

Our latest research report takes a deep dive into whether popular apps and platforms disclose if (and how) they sell and share personal data. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) became law in the state of California in 2020, but in the last year, the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) expanded the definition of selling data to include any practice by which apps or platforms track user behavior and then share that information for advertising purposes.

And our research found that most businesses in the industry are either not in compliance with the new CPRA definition of selling or sharing data, or are not being transparent about how they are really monetizing our data. As a result, companies are misleading kids and families about privacy.

In many cases, you or your child may have opted in to use an app or a platform, thinking that your data is protected, when in reality, it isn't. If companies can say one thing but do another, then consumers don’t have a meaningful choice if their data is sold, and that's especially concerning when it comes to kids.

For laws like the CCPA and CPRA to have any real impact, we need to start holding companies accountable when they don't comply. Otherwise, the industry will continue making money by influencing and exploiting kids and families' data for commercial purposes, all while claiming they respect our privacy.