“Dear Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, We represent a diverse coalition of interest groups and individuals calling on you to end targeted, ‘behavioural’ advertising to children on your sites, and the tracking which underpins it”.
These are the opening lines in an open letter put together by the charity Global Action Plan and signed by 25 influential experts in the field of online child protection in the UK. Among the signatories are clinical psychologists, media researchers, lecturers, MP’s, organizations etc.
According to them, apps that are free to download and play but generate revenue through (more or less hidden) in-app advertising and purchases should all be a thing of the past. At least when it comes to children.
Together they recognise that that: “most popular sites and apps are funded by behavioural advertising. But these products, overwhelmingly designed for and by adults, are accessed by large and growing numbers of children; children who are tracked, profiled and targeted with ads such that their attention can be most effectively monetized”.
In the letter the experts demand systemic change. That tech companies turn off advertising and targeting for all individuals under the age og 13. According to the letter ad-tech companies hold 72 million data points on a child by the time they reach this age. And this in itself shows the extent of disregard for the laws set up to protect children that need particular protection regarding data collection and data processing simply because they may be less aware of the risks involved.
Within the last couple of years a nummer of legal cases have been made against big tech and their business models aimed at targeting and monetizing on children. This letter is not a legal case. It’s just a letter with a very simple but also very clear message: “You, the most powerful companies on the internet, have a responsibility to protect your users“!
It’s important. so let’s hope, they listen this time…