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42 Apps Spying on Your Kids Without Your Permission

Photograph by Twenty20

Something happens the second your baby is born. You're different; more cautious (read: paranoid) and completely oblivious to the increased number of times you offer to sanitize the hands of friends and family.

Know what else? You make promises you can't keep, like the time you swore you'd never let your kid use an iPad and then bought one "just in case they got bored" in the car while driving to grandma's house.

It's OK; you're human. You're also not alone. Millions of kids rely on this technology to stay busy every day. So many in fact, that other companies have stepped up their game to steal you away from Apple's kid-friendly business. So, what’s the big deal? (Aside from the fact that too much screen time can contribute to speech delays and have lifelong effects.)

According to the Washington Post, a lot of things can happen, especially if you use apps from the Walt Disney Co. to entertain your children.

A recent class-action federal lawsuit, directed at Disney and three other software companies, claims that the mobile apps they built together violate COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by collecting personal data on some of their youngest customers and illegally sharing with advertisers—without parental consent.

The lawsuit accuses Disney of allowing software companies to embed trackers in apps such as “Disney Princess Palace Pets” and “Where’s My Water? 2.” Once installed, this software can share information from your child's device “exfiltrate that information off the smart device for advertising and other commercial purposes.” In other words, it allows advertisers to know more about your kids than you probably are comfortable with them knowing.

“These are heavy-duty technologies, industrial-strength data and analytic companies whose role is to track and monetize individuals,” said Jeffrey Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. “These should not be in little children’s apps.”

Though Disney maintains that their data collection and use policies for Disney apps created for children and families are strict and firmly adhered to, the Federal Trade Commission says that online services that target users under the age of 13 should display such guidelines in a privacy policy that is clear and easy to read.

But what about the kids using these apps, and the fact that every parent with an iPad is now scrambling to figure out which apps are spying on their family?

Want to know which apps are possibly being used to collect information on your kids? Here's a full list of the apps named in the complaint:

  • AvengersNet
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Perfect Match
  • Cars Lightening League
  • Club Penguin Island
  • Color by Disney
  • Disney Color and Play
  • Disney Crossy Road
  • Disney Dream Treats
  • Disney Emoji Blitz
  • Disney Gif
  • Disney Jigsaw Puzzle!
  • Disney LOL
  • Disney Princess: Story Theater
  • Disney Store Become
  • Disney Story Central
  • Disney's Magic Timer by Oral-B
  • Disney Princess: Charmed Adventures
  • Dodo Pop
  • Disney Build It Frozen
  • DuckTales: Remastered
  • Frozen Free Fall
  • Frozen Free Fall: Icy Shot
  • Good Dinosaur Storybook Deluxe
  • Inside Out Thought Bubbles
  • Maleficent Free Fall
  • Miles from Tomorrowland: Missions
  • Moana Island Life
  • Olaf's Adventures
  • Palace Pets in Whisker Haven
  • Sofia the First Color and Play
  • Sofia the First Secret Library
  • Star Wars: Puzzle DroidsTM
  • Star WarsTM: Commander
  • Temple Run: Oz
  • Temple Run: Brave
  • The Lion Guard
  • Toy Story: Story Theater
  • Where’s My Water?
  • Where's My Mickey?
  • Where's My Water? 2
  • Where’s My Water? Lite/Where’s My Water? Free
  • Zootopia Crime Files: Hidden Object

Parents: We may not be perfect, but we do know how to delete.

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