Pokémon Go, Roadblocks, Messenger and YouTube Kids mobile apps flagged as potentially selling personal data of millions of Australian children

Parents are being warned of the dangers of popular apps for kids after they were discovered to be collecting and selling personal data.

Recent studies by analytics firm Pixalate as well as Human Rights Watch, found that up to 4 million children in Australia may have had their privacy breached, with two in five children’s apps affected by privacy issues. privacy.

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Among children’s apps available on Google Play, Pixalate suggests that 44% can access personal information, while in Apple’s App Store, 21% of children’s apps do not publish a privacy policy.

They also found that in terms of educational apps for kids, some 146 apps shared data with 196 third-party companies.

What data do the apps collect?

Social media strategist Meg Coffey said Sunrise big tech companies were selling the data obtained from these apps for advertising purposes.

“That’s why we get the apps for free, because they can take all that information and sell it for advertising,” she said.

Coffey, however, also warned parents to assume that these apps could use any private information available to them.

“You have to assume they’re collecting all available information,” she said.

“It could be your children’s friends, search history, your IP address, but also your exact location.”

Many popular apps for kids have potential security risks. Credit: Pacific Press/Light Rocket via Getty Images

Coffey explained that privacy issues can become problematic when children are involved, as they don’t understand the risks.

“They don’t have the education,” she said.

“And beware, some parents don’t necessarily have the required training either, but kids just download these apps without reading the terms and conditions, partly because they go on for pages and pages.”

What applications do the experts warn about?

Some 12,000 apps for kids have potential access to personal information but don’t have a privacy policy detected, according to Pixalate’s research.

The most popular children’s apps that the search found could pose potential security risks:

  • Pokemon Go
  • animal jam
  • Roblox
  • Kids Messenger
  • youtube for kids

“There are a lot of them, but mostly those are the ones most of us are familiar with,” Coffey said.

In fact, experts say that many apps, both for children and adults, have the potential to share personal data, however, apps for children seem to pose a greater risk.

On children’s apps, personal information is 42% more likely to be shared with advertisers, according to the study.

What can be done?

As for what can be done to stop these apps from accessing and selling personal data, Coffey said more regulations are needed to protect users.

She explained that on an individual level, however, parents should monitor a child’s activities and always read the terms and conditions when downloading a new app.

“If there is a prompt that asks ‘do you want to allow this app to access your data?’ you can say yes or no,” she said.

“I strongly recommend that you answer ‘no, I don’t allow the app to track my data’.

“That’s about the limits of what you can actually do.”

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