If you had the ability to review a daily dashboard of your child’s tablet usage, would you? Amazon is banking that a lot of parents would say yes.
Amazon Freetime, a monthly subscription service offering a variety of kid-friendly books, games, apps and video, just added a new Parent Dashboard feature. The dashboard includes a detailed visual recap of a child’s daily usage activity by category, with the option to look deeper into each section to see titles of content they viewed and the time they spent on each. Even further, the service now offers Discussion Cards, containing synopses of select books and shows with discussion questions and learning activities for parents to do with kids.
After all of our discussions about data and privacy, I can’t help but view this new feature through an untrusting lens. Digital trends refers to the data collection as “unnerving, especially given Amazon’s bread-and-butter business: Selling products.”
Kurt Beidler, director and general manager of Amazon FreeTime addressed those concerns, promising that the service is compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a federal law that puts restrictions on operators of websites or online services directed to children under 13 years of age. He added that Amazon only stores what is necessary, that it is not being used for advertising and that “parent trust is important.”
Although that information is reassuring, it’s hard to not remain skeptical, especially with a company like Amazon. Thinking back to the article 10 Big Data Analytics Privacy Problems, one statement about the ethics of data collection comes to mind: “just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you should.”