Protecting Student Data: Parent Opinions Needed

School child in headphones next to computer monitor

With iPads and Chromebooks supplanting paper and pencil, and a constellation of apps and programs being used in schools, lots and lots of student data is being created. The federal government is asking the public how that data should be protected. 

Until Monday, December 9, 2019, you can tell the Federal Trade Commission what’s needed in the Child Online Privacy and Protection Act. As the law states, COPPA “prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices in connection with the collection, use, and/or disclosure of personal information from and about children [aged 12 and under] on the Internet.”

Make Your Comments HERE

If you’re a parent (and even if you’re not), here’s where your opinion is needed:   


Right now, COPPA does not specifically protect the data generated by 12-and-under children at school. To close that gap, the FTC could require the maker of any app, piece of software or hardware, service, or platform used by your child in school to:  

-Publicly post how they protect the security, confidentiality, and integrity of any data collected on your child.

-Collect only enough data they need to operate their product and never share your child’s data with undisclosed 3rd parties or use for commercial purposes.

-Give you the right to review and/or delete your child’s data.

-Give your school the ability to delete your child’s non-essential data at the end of every school year.

If you think that’s a good idea, tell the FTC to include those practices in COPPA.


Normally under COPPA, you must give consent for your 12-and-under child to use an app, game or other online product. But the FTC wants schools to give consent on behalf of parents, which the agency has informally encouraged and is already happening on a widespread basis.

Is that OK with you? If not, under which circumstances would you allow your school to grant consent on your behalf?

Consider making these points to the FTC:

-Schools must clearly disclose all apps, services, devices and other products that they approve on your behalf, the criteria they used to approve each product, and the company’s terms of service, privacy and security.

-Schools that OKed your 12-and-under child to use a product made for children older than 12 must be stopped because that practice is ILLEGAL (even now) under COPPA.  


COPPA only protects the data of children ages 12 and under. If you think that’s not sufficient, put the FTC on notice you want kids’ data to be protected all the way through high school. 

Finally, if you don’t want facial recognition software to be used to identify your child, add that comment, too! 

Telling real-life stories will help to make your point to the FTC. Also: know this process is EASY! Just fill in the box and feel free to crib from this alert.

Be sure to comment HERE by Monday, December 9.

You can also sign this petition by the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood to tell the FTC that kids need more protection of their online data—not less.

About the author: Jenifer Joy Madden is a health journalist, digital media professor, parent educator, and parent of three. Her work has appeared on news outlets including ABC News and The Washington Post and in her books How To Be a Durable Human: Revive and Thrive in the Digital Age Through the Power of Self-Design and The Durable Human Manifesto: Practical Wisdom for Living and Parenting in the Digital World. She also hosts the online parent education classroom, Durable U

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