Google Inc (NASDAQ GOOG) has announced that it will expand its target audience to include kids under the age of 13, by offering accounts to children for its products like YouTube and Gmail. The company will allow parents to set up accounts for their children and control the data children can access through a dashboard. This is a bold move by the tech giant in an attempt to expand its user base. The move, however, will expose Google to a complex audience, requiring it to comply with stringent legal requirements.
Google has announced that it will officially offer its products, like YouTube, to children under 13, entering a complex market full of legal restrictions and pitfalls. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) imposes strict laws and regulations on internet-based companies to protect children’s rights, safety and privacy, making it a difficult market for such companies to enter.
The act places limitations on data that can be collected by web companies about users under the age of 13, and also requires parental consent. This restricts marketing opportunities for these companies. The legal restrictions caused many web companies such as YouTube to decide against offering their services to underage users.
Google Inc (NASDAQ GOOG) News: Google For Children
Though none of Google’s services such as Gmail or YouTube were officially targeted toward children, it did not stop children from logging in anonymously or falsely stating themselves as adults while signing up for these services.
By directly entering this market, Google will have to comply with all the regulations to avoid any legal pitfalls. The company currently plans to roll out a new version of YouTube that is more compatible for underage users, providing parents with controls to keep track of and limit the data their children can access. Parents will also have control over the data being collected about their children.
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Targeting children will help open a new segment of users for Google (NASDAQ GOOG). More and more kids these days have access to tablets and computers. Offering services to them at an earlier stage of their lives can turn them into loyal users, enabling Google to collect data and insights from them from an early age.
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