TeenAge Privacy Program

Helping U.S. companies collect and manage teenage data responsibly.

 

 

 

It is no secret that teens are voracious users of technology. What may be less apparent, at least to them, is that their quest for greater engagement threatens the safety of their personal data. Teens are a unique demographic with unique concerns related to their personal data, but without specific standards to bridge the gap between childhood and adulthood.

 

 
 

Current Participants

Access your current work and convening resources in the Incubator Portal.

 

 
 

The TAPP Roadmap

Led by CISR, convenings with business leaders representing consumer goods, children’s marketing, and wireless and media technology companies over the last year resulted in the development of the TAPP Roadmap, a new operational framework designed to help companies develop digital products and services that consider and respond to the heightened potential of risks and harms to teenage consumers and to ensure that businesses collect and manage teen data responsibly.

 

A dedicated process for considering the unique needs of certain consumer groups, such as teenagers, is an important step in any design and development cycle. To that end, an organization of any size can use this framework as a roadmap of considerations to help address the privacy, autonomy, and safety of teens.

 

Read about the TAPP Roadmap in:

 

 

Laying the Foundation

 

 

In October 2020, to kickoff the TAPP initiative, BBB National Programs conducted a study that found that 82 percent of teen apps were ad-supported compared to only 52 percent of general apps. With 83 percent of mobile device users aged 13-17 downloading a new app at least once a month, that risk increases twelvefold. To protect teen privacy interests, some lawmakers are proposing to raise the protected age range under Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) to include teens. Recently, we have seen the PROTECT Kids Act, the Kids PRIVCY Act, and the KIDS Act each applying certain concepts from COPPA to children under the ages of 16 or 17.

 

 

The intention is worthy, but the specifics come up short. Defining a website, app, or platform as a “teen space” is much more complex than identifying child-directed content. And the unique teen audience is strikingly different than COPPA’s current targeted age range of under 13. Teens occupy an intermediate space between childhood and adulthood, which demands a nuanced approach to setting new standards, not merely changing the age limit under COPPA.

 

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The Environment

 

 

For companies looking to provide services to the teen market, the constriction of privacy protections and misapplied solutions looms. A 2019 Cisco Consumer Privacy Study showed that 87 percent of companies are experiencing sales delays caused by their customers’ privacy concerns. This number will likely rise as a plethora of digital privacy laws, including the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), take effect. Meanwhile, the call for increased regulation is accelerating, despite a lack of understanding around long-term consequences of hasty regulatory action.

 

In this environment, constant adaptation is the rule. The potential for online teen risk is accelerating as technology advances faster than any legislation can address. And, with legislation often arriving with unintended impediments to growth and innovation, informed solutions will be vital.

 

83%

of U.S. mobile device owners ager 13 to 17 downloaded an app at least once a month*

 

81%

of teens use social media with 70% saying they use it multiple times a day, up from 34% in 2012*

 

72%

of teens believe that tech companies manipulate users to spend more time on devices*

 

89%

of teens have their own smartphone, more than doubling since 2012*

*See sources cited in Risky Business: The Current State of Teen Privacy in the Android App Marketplace

 

 

 

 

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To become involved in the TAPP convening, or to be kept up to date on this issue, please complete the form below.

 

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