Companies like McDonald’s, Subway, and the makers of Reese’s Puffs and Trix cereal are soliciting kids directly online, collecting their email addresses to market to other kids, all without parental consent. According to a law dating back to 1998, it’s legal.
FTC urged to bolster online privacy protection for children
Watchdog and privacy groups are urging the FTC to stop firms from soliciting email addresses of children to market products to them without parental consent.
The groups said five companies used kid-themed websites — such as McDonald’s Corp.‘s HappyMeal.com and Turner Broadcasting System‘s CartoonNetwork.com — to encourage children to play online games or participate in activities, then share their experiences by providing email addresses of their friends.
The marketing practices highlight the need to update a 1998 law designed to protect the privacy of children on the Internet, the groups said Tuesday in preparation for filing complaints Wednesday with the Federal Trade Commission.