Consumer group complains to FTC over 'inappropriate' kids apps

Children's games and apps were found to breach federal privacy laws in the United States

Consumer group complains to FTC over 'inappropriate' kids apps

A collection of consumer advocates have asked the US Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google Play apps that may violate privacy laws.

NBC News reports that The Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University Law School is leading a group of 22 consumer advocates in filing a formal complaint against Google.

The group told the FTC that various children’s and family apps may violate the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

“The business model for the Play Store’s Family section benefits advertisers, developers and Google at the expense of children and parents,” said executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood Josh Golin, in a statement put forward to the FTC.

“Google puts its seal of approval on apps that break the law, manipulate kids into watching ads and making purchases.”

Cause for concern

Games and apps like Preschool Education Center and Top 28 Nursery Rhymes and Song were found to be accessing location information, while Baby Panda's Carnival and Design It Girl - Fashion Salon sent device information to advertisers.

The group also raised concern over family games that may not be age appropriate. Google’s family section flags up apps that are particularly suitable for kids, but the group said many include inappropriate content like cutting clothes off characters or giving medical shots in the back of a patient’s throat.

“Parents want their children to be safe online and we work hard to protect them," said a Google spokesperson.

"Apps in our Designed for Families program have to comply with strict policies on content, privacy and advertising, and we take action on any policy violations that we find.”

Staff Writer

Natalie Clayton is an Edinburgh-based freelance writer and game developer. Besides PCGamesInsider and, she's written across the games media landscape and was named in the 2018 100 Rising Star list.