1. What Personal Information Does the App or Digital Tool Collect?
Try to gauge whether the user agreements extend to educators or parents. Look for language that expresses whether the app shares information with third-party companies or advertisers, and details what information is shared.
2. What Rights Do Users Have to their Data?
Evaluate statements about user’s rights and protections as well as any of the app’s safety features. It’s crucial to ensure that all students, teachers and parents have the power to review, access, modify, delete and export their personal information.
3. What Interactions Within the App or Digital Tool are Visible to Other Users?
Applications should hide the user’s interactions with other users, Bronfman said. Such restrictions will foster the physical and emotional well-being of all students. To further streamline protections for K–12 students, Bronfman advises establishing a “standard of care” for evaluating commercial apps. Common Sense Media provides a helpful vetting and review process for online apps, helping schools guarantee safety for students online.
4. Does the Application Include Advertisements or Tracking that Might Compromise Sensitive Information?
Commercial apps and websites, such as YouTube or Facebook, could be a great resource for instructional videos. However, these resources also use advertisements and data tracking that pose significant data privacy threats.
“Advertising does sneak in a lot of places,” Nelson said.
Responsible advertisers will restrict the use of personally identifiable information for third-party marketing, targeted ads, tracking or profile generation.
5. Is Parental Consent Required?
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act requires operators of websites, online services and apps to notify parents and get consent if they collect information on children younger than 13. COPPA requires those operators to “choose a method reasonably designed in light of available technology to ensure that the person giving the consent is the child’s parent,” according to the Federal Trade Commission.