Children, Parents and Teachers Unaware of Educational Apps Collecting Data on Children

A new report has found that millions of students had their personal data collected and online behaviors tracked by websites, applications and other educational programs. The programs did not have the student-users’ consent and in some cases allow third-party companies like advertisers access to the data.

International advocacy organization Human Rights Watch published their findings from an investigation they completed between March 2021 and August 2021. The investigation examined educational services that students, world-wide, used when learning went all online.

Human Rights Watch investigated 164 products used in 49 countries. They found 146 of them (89%) appeared to be engaging in data practices that infringed or even risked children’s rights. These practices included activity like monitoring or monitoring children without the students ‘or parents’ consent, the collected a range of personal data like identity, location, online activity and behavior and even information about family and friends.

HRW stated that children, parents and teachers were largely unaware of the risky behavior. However, they wanted to emphasize that even if anyone had been aware they likely would have had little choice but to use the apps as it was either log-on or be marked absent.