It seems like in every generation of raising kids, there are new sets of challenges. Today, parents need to worry about protecting their kids’ privacy online and guarding them against online predators.
There are online threats such as inappropriate content that your child may or may not innocently come across. Chat room friends might not always be the best influence on your son or daughter since many predators like to hang out in these places. There’s cyberbullying that’s quite prevalent with more and more kids reporting they’re victims. There are even online scams that promise to give your child big sums of money in exchange for payments. The list goes on and on. Click here to learn more about how to keep your kids safe from these top online threats.
One company you wouldn’t expect you’d have to worry about is Disney. The company that promotes its theme parks as being the "Happiest Place on Earth" is causing some concern for parents instead. Disney is being sued for creating apps that allegedly collect personal data of kids.
One of the apps is Disney Princess Palace Pets. The Google Play store listing promises the game will take you to an “enchanted world” where you can meet pets like Teacup, Pumpkin and Petit and be able to show them some e-love.
Well, there’s nothing enchanting about a federal lawsuit filed in California that accuses the Walt Disney Co. of using this app and over 40 others to embed tracking software that secretly collects the personal data of kids. Disney is accused of using that information for “advertising and other commercial purposes.”
The parent who filed the suit claims Disney violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The plaintiff claims the apps don’t ask for parental permission and assign unique identifiers to users that can track location as well as what the user does in the game and on other platforms and devices. Disney doesn’t even need kids’ names or email addresses to do this. They allegedly have found a way to follow children around online to build a profile on them.
This isn’t the first time Disney’s been sued for allegedly violating COPPA. In 2011, a Disney subsidiary, Playdom, was fined $3 million for registering children for online games and in return collecting their email addresses and ages. They even requested kids to provide more personal information such as their names and physical locations.
Disney isn’t the only company in the spotlight for sharing personal information. And, it's not just kids whose data is at risk. Dictionary.com recently came under fire for tracking users' personal information and selling it to advertisers. Is this app on your smartphone right now?
It will be some time before we know how the lawsuit turns out. For now, the safest thing is to delete any of the apps that are believed to be collecting your kids' information. Here's the full list of apps that have come into question:
This is the full list of games named in the complaint filed last week:
- Beauty and the Beast
- Perfect Match
- Cars Lightning League
- Club Penguin Island
- Color by Disney
- Disney Color and Play
- Disney Crossy Road
- Disney Dream Treats
- Disney Emoji Blitz
- Disney Gif
- Disney Jigsaw Puzzle!
- Disney LOL
- Disney Princess: Story Theater
- Disney Store Become
- Disney Story Central
- Disney’s Magic Timer by Oral-B
- Disney Princess: Charmed Adventures
- Dodo Pop
- Disney Build It Frozen
- DuckTales: Remastered
- Frozen Free Fall
- Frozen Free Fall: Icy Shot
- Good Dinosaur Storybook Deluxe
- Inside Out Thought Bubbles
- Maleficent Free Fall
- Miles from Tomorrowland: Missions
- Moana Island Life
- Olaf’s Adventures
- Palace Pets in Whisker Haven
- Sofia the First Color and Play
- Sofia the First Secret Library
- Star Wars: Puzzle DroidsTM
- Star WarsTM: Commander
- Temple Run: Oz
- Temple Run: Brave
- The Lion Guard
- Toy Story: Story Theater
- Where’s My Water?
- Where’s My Mickey?
- Where’s My Water? 2
- Where’s My Water? Lite/Where’s My Water? Free
- Zootopia Crime Files: Hidden Object