A: Unfortunately, you don’t. And given that 85% of Americans have a cell phone, (45% have smartphones) and 25% have tablets, your question is an excellent one. The good news is that we tend to take our privacy pretty seriously. A September, 2012 Pew report found that than half of app users “decided to not install a cell phone app when they discovered how much personal information they would need to share in order to use it,” And 30% of app users have “uninstalled an app that was already on their cell phone because they learned it was collecting personal information that they didn’t wish to share.”
What I find especially interesting is that we don’t seem to be nearly as concerned with our kids’ app privacy as we are with our own. You and I are among the nearly 60% of app-using parents who have downloaded at least one app for a child. However, not that many of us thought about our kids’ privacy. Clearly, it’s something we need to pay more attention to. It didn’t hit you until recently, and I have to admit I hadn’t even thought about it at all until I ran across two recent reports by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), that showed that developers of most apps for children are “sharing kids’ information with third parties without disclosing these practices to parents.”
So what can we do? Well, the FTC is urging mobile app developers to come up with some uniform “best practices” that would protect users’ privacy. They’re also developing education initiatives designed to help parents figure out what’s really going on with their information.
After doing a blog post on this topic a few days ago, I heard from one developer, Everloop.com, that makes privacy protected apps for kids, But ultimately, it’s up to us to be more vigilant and to make sure every piece of technology that our kids have access to will keep our private information private.