Mobile Advertising

Pixalate releases new report findings


82% of the reported Likely Child-Directed Google Apps That Allow Children Users Transmit IP Address In the Ad Bid Stream And Do Not Seek Parental Consent

Pixalate, the global market-leading fraud protection, privacy, and compliance analytics platform for Connected TV (CTV) and Mobile Advertising, today released the Children’s Online Privacy Risk Report: Age Screening & Parental Consent On Mobile Apps to examine the state of children’s online privacy among Google and Apple apps available for download in Q1 2023.

Pixalate’s Trust & Safety Advisory Board conducted a manual review of 1,000 mobile apps to analyze whether the apps screen for age, allow children under 13, and seek verified parental consent (VPC). Pixalate also analyzed the apps’ data permission and transmission practices to identify potential violations of the COPPA Rule.

Key Findings:

  • 97% Google apps reviewed were likely child-directed, do not obtain parental consent, and share location data in the ad bidstream
  • 63% Apple apps reviewed were likely child-directed, do not obtain parental consent, and share location data in the ad bid stream
  • 55% of Apple likely child-directed apps that allow children transmit location data in the ad bid stream
  • 66% of the likely child-directed mobile apps do not screen for age
  • 59% of the likely child-directed apps with no age screen request access to personal information via permission(s)
  • 65% of the analyzed likely child-directed apps that allow children to access the app do not seek parental consent

Read the full Q1 2023 Children’s Online Privacy Risk Report: Age Screening & Parental Consent On Mobile Apps here.

Age screening is a mechanism that operators of mobile apps use to determine the age of users. While operators of child-directed apps are not required to screen users for age under COPPA, they must obtain verifiable parental consent (VPC) before collecting personal information from a child, unless the collection falls into one of the Rule’s exceptions. Pixalate’s study does not establish that there was a COPPA violation but the reported app characteristics may pose a risk to children’s online privacy.

Child-Directed Mobile Apps:

Pixalate uses automated processing derived from a combination of signals to determine if an app is likely to be child-directed, including the app’s category, sub-category, content rating, and contextual signals (specifically, child-related keywords in app’s title or the app’s description). Pixalate also leverages manual app review by educators on Pixalate’s Trust & Safety Advisory Board, who make assessments of apps based on the child-directed factors outlined in the COPPA Rule. See Pixalate’s COPPA methodology for more information.

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