[Ed. – Lock your doors and windows (after unplugging your electronic devices).]
Consumer and activist groups called Monday for an investigation into Google-owned YouTube for allowing advertising to be targeted at children in apparent violation of US law.
The organizations said that although YouTube claims that the site is only for users 13 and up, Google generates significant profits from kid-targeted advertising on the video-sharing service.
Twenty-three organizations signed a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), arguing that YouTube is among the most popular online platforms for children and offers many programs designed and promoted for children.
According to the complaint, Google collects personal information about minors on YouTube, including location, unique device identifiers and mobile telephone numbers, and uses that to target advertisements to kids across the internet, apparently without their parents’ consent.
It noted that YouTube contains child-oriented channels such as ChuChu TV Nursery Rhymes & Kids Songs, with millions of subscribers, and that advertisers pay Google a premium to place their ads on a “parenting and family” lineup including channels aimed at children.