YouTube Kids’ Opponents are Asking the Wrong Questions

From the Kidscreen post:

Last week, two advocacy groups renewed their complaints against YouTube Kids, claiming that a “limited but systematic search” turned up hundreds of promotions for foods that ought not to be advertised to children under the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative. I don’t question that there are still advertisements to be found on YouTube Kids, and I don’t question the inherent unfairness of “native advertising” to children. I do have doubts about the methodology and claims of the activists’ study.

YouTube Kids is a response to many things: Children’s distaste for “walled gardens,” since they have interests at least as diverse as adults’; parents’ desire for safe spaces for their kids; and Google’s interest in not having to sanitize its adult-oriented platform (that we know young people love).

Television is changing in ways we couldn’t have anticipated just a few years ago, and there’s a lot still being figured out. Activists who cut their teeth counting commercial minutes on limited, programmed and linear channels need to become smart about evolving media. They may want streaming media to be more like traditional “TV” as it would be easier to regulate. But “pull” is entirely different from “push,” in its content and genres, its use patterns, even its purpose.

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YouTube Video App Accused of Pushing Ads to Kids

A coalition of consumer and children advocacy groups plans to urge federal regulators to investigate a YouTube video app aimed at children that the groups say disregards long-established safeguards limiting advertising to young audiences. The YouTube Kids app, which was released in February, blends video programming and ads in ways that deceive children and parents, according to the groups.

Check out this Reuters post for more.

Kids’ Attorneys Press Video-Privacy Case Against Viacom, Google

From the MediaPost article:

Attorneys for a group of children who are suing Google and Viacom for alleged privacy violations are asking a federal judge to allow the lawsuit to proceed.

The children’s attorneys say the two companies violated the Video Privacy Protection Act, which prohibits video rental companies from disclosing personally identifiable information about consumers.

CCFC Asks AT&T to Pull the Plug on BabyFirst U-verse App

From the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) website:

As if urging parents to use television or tablets with babies isn’t bad enough, AT&T has partnered with BabyFirst to introduce the first-ever “second screen” experience for infants and toddlers. The new BabyFirstTV U-verse app encourages babies to use an iPad while watching TV.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under two. When there’s no evidence that even one screen benefits babies, marketing a second one is unconscionable.

Please tell AT&T to pull the plug on the BabyFirst U-verse app.

Microsoft and Other Firms Pledge to Protect Student Data

The participating companies, including Microsoft; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the educational publishing house; Amplify, a developer of digital curriculums; and Edmodo, an online network for schools that allows teachers to assign homework and measure students’ progress, are publicly committing themselves not to sell information on kindergartners through 12th graders.  Read this NY Times article for more.

Amazon Battles FTC Over Kids’ In-App Purchases

From the MediaPost article:

Amazon and the Federal Trade Commission are battling in court about whether the agency should be allowed to continue with its lawsuit alleging that the online retailer unfairly charged parents for their children’s in-app purchases.

Amazon says in court papers that the FTC is seeking to hold the company “to a new and unjustified” standard of unfair billing.“The requirements that the FTC seeks to impose through this lawsuit for in-app purchases are unmoored from any … congressional mandate and unchecked by any lawful rulemaking process,”Amazon argues in a motion to dismiss the FTC’s lawsuit.