Send a letter to Congress: Support strong privacy legislation that protects children and students

Parents and students, if you are concerned about how the apps and technology you’re using in school and at home are collecting and sharing children’s data, please let your members of Congress know by sending this message.

In his March 2022 State of the Union address, President Biden specifically said we must do more to protect children from surveillance and harm of Big Tech.

“These companies know everything from where users are physically located at any moment, to how many seconds they spend reading a particular post, to intimate personal data like what medical symptoms they have been researching. Children are also subject to the platforms’ intensive and excessive data collection vacuum, which they use to deliver sensational and harmful content and troves of paid advertising to our kids. By one estimate, online advertising firms hold 72 million data points on the average child by the time they reach the age of 13. The President is calling on Congress to ban excessive data collection on and targeted advertising online for children and young people.”

We know that tech and screens are addictive, with children often caught in a loop, scrolling through sometimes harmful content. Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen, says teens fall into a trap of algorithms, especially on social media. In an interview with 60 Minutes, Ms. Haugen revealed that “Facebook internal studies … show 13.5% of teen girls say Instagram makes thoughts of suicide worse; 17% of teen girls say Instagram makes eating disorders worse.”

We also know that edtech programs collect massive amounts of sensitive demographic data on children, including their email, home, income, grades, disabilities, citizenship status, discipline and criminal history, religious preference, behavior and more. In many cases, we have no idea how they use and share this data with other companies.

Yet a recent study found that 60% of school apps are improperly sharing student data with third parties. The Markup, in its investigations into Naviance and PowerSchool, found that when parents and schools asked to see their students’ data, these companies refused to share that information.

The Markup also found that Naviance allowed their customers to target students and their families with ads, based on their income and race. PowerSchool, which owns Naviance, can collect as many as 7,000 data fields per student, and uses algorithms to predict a student’s risk of not graduating high school on time starting in first grade.

Please click here to send a message to your members of Congress, asking them to support strong privacy legislation that will protect all minors and students. We need to reign in Big Tech from surveilling and monetizing kids.   Thanks!