8 Products That Excel at Protecting Children’s Digital Privacy

They include a companion robot, an app, and Legos

3 min read
children sitting at a table looking at a laptop
iStockphoto

A 2019 UNICEF study found that globally, about 1 in 3 Internet users is younger than 18. Parents let preschool children use their smartphones and tablets to stream shows and play games. School-age youngsters are online more lately because of remote learning that schools began offering during the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools have become accustomed to relying on technology, which in some cases has made teaching easier, more efficient, and more inclusive. In some schools, computers have replaced notebooks and textbooks.

Some regulations regarding children’s privacy on the Internet were written more than 20 years ago and are outdated. Most of the regulations treat children ages 13 to 17 like adults. Many online products and services have not been designed with children as a primary audience.

In the IEEE Standards Association’s continued effort to help organizations create a safe, secure, privacy-preserving digital environment for youngsters, it recently released the second edition of “Applied Case Studies for Designing Trustworthy Digital Experiences for Children.” The report features the following eight products, which responsibly connect with children in age-appropriate ways, use minimal data collection, and offer improved ways of obtaining parental consent.

5 small colorful pictures of different animalsFutureshift Consulting

300M Learning Portal

Futureshift Consulting’s platform, TADAA!, provides engaging, age-appropriate content. In an effort to protect children’s identities, the portal employs minimal data collection. Nearly 2,000 schools across 17 states in India have used the platform, reaching more than 10 million children.

 two green eyes in a small computer monitorHonda Research Institute

Haru

A companion robot from the Honda Research Institute, Haru offers interactive storytelling and activities, with minimum data collection. The robot, aimed at children ages 6 to 16, was built with their health, safety, security, education, and socialization in mind. It requires parental or educator consent for advanced functions.

various pictures of children in school environmentsiTeach Schools

iTeach

This community of secondary schools in India was established as a college-to-career path to help students with low socioeconomic status lift themselves out of poverty. None of the 54 government-run English schools in the city of Pune, Maharashtra, go beyond seventh grade—which restricts the students’ ability to attend college and limits their employment opportunities. Tablets provided to students by iTeach are equipped with software to disable access to content not suitable for them.

an overhead shot of 4 small children looking and working on a laptopLearning Equality

Kolibri

The company provides access to educational content in a variety of languages and subject areas for preuniversity students living in areas that lack Internet access. The platform, which collects minimal data about the students, runs on low-cost and legacy devices. The material follows national curricular standards for age-appropriate learning.

illustration of a lego child and lego adult sitting on a couchThe Lego Group

Lego Group

The group uses verifiable parental consent (VPC) to support children’s rights and well-being on the Internet. A username generator eliminates the need for the child to create one that might accidentally include personal identifiers. VPC is required to access advanced digital experiences.

block of blue with text and educational images, block of purple with text and excited childOtsimo

Otsimo

This online app for special-needs children offers skill-level-appropriate developmental games focused on cognitive, social, and language skills and features speech exercises. Otsimo obtains parental consent for such features as accessing the microphone and camera.

children using a smartphoneYoti

Yoti

This digital identity platform helps organizations verify a user’s age and comply with the U.K. age-appropriate design code. Yoti asks children to authenticate their age and does not store their data. Proof of age includes facial age estimation and reference checks with mobile phone operators or credit agencies.

various pictures of children in school environmentsPrivo

Privo

The company’s software and compliance solutions identity and provide consent management for parents through VPC. To comply with regulations for privacy and safety, the program restricts youngsters’ access at predetermined levels of services.

Fill out this form to receive links to download the PDF reports. After providing your information, you’ll be updated on related activities including the next call for case studies.

The Conversation (1)
FB TS07 Jan, 2023
INDV

IMHO, pretty much ALL kinds of social media is harmful & dangerous to children & teenagers (as they cause addiction & sleep & attention/focus problems & bullying, exploitation, manipulation etc)!

& ONLY true/realistic/effective/permanent solution would be banning social media usage/membership for ALL underage people (by national/global law(s))!!

& BTW, how about also keeping ALL children away from smart-phones/tablet-computers (which are extremely dangerous/risky for them!)

& instead, giving them (scientific) toys and/or classic children's story books and/or children's (science/tech) encyclopedias etc?

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How Duolingo’s AI Learns What You Need to Learn

The AI that powers the language-learning app today could disrupt education tomorrow

9 min read
Vertical
This playful illustration shows Duolingo’s owl mascot, cut away down the midline, showing hidden inside a high-tech skeleton suggestive of some sort of AI robot.
Eddie Guy
Blue

It’s lunchtime when your phone pings you with a green owl who cheerily reminds you to “Keep Duo Happy!” It’s a nudge from Duolingo, the popular language-learning app, whose algorithms know you’re most likely to do your 5 minutes of Spanish practice at this time of day. The app chooses its notification words based on what has worked for you in the past and the specifics of your recent achievements, adding a dash of attention-catching novelty. When you open the app, the lesson that’s queued up is calibrated for your skill level, and it includes a review of some words and concepts you flubbed during your last session.

Duolingo, with its gamelike approach and cast of bright cartoon characters, presents a simple user interface to guide learners through a curriculum that leads to language proficiency, or even fluency. But behind the scenes, sophisticated artificial-intelligence (AI) systems are at work. One system in particular, called Birdbrain, is continuously improving the learner’s experience with algorithms based on decades of research in educational psychology, combined with recent advances in machine learning. But from the learner’s perspective, it simply feels as though the green owl is getting better and better at personalizing lessons.

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