Brands brace for change as Australia moves towards stricter kids data protection

ACCC and TotallyAwesome call for parental consent when collecting children’s data 

Sydney, Australia (AUG 2019) Ninety-five percent of Aussie parents are worried about their children’s exposure on social networks. The Kids’ Digital Insights Study conducted by kid-centric digital media company TotallyAwesome late last year found a whopping 89 percent of parents are worried about their kids’ safety on social media. Among their key concerns are  inappropriate content, cyberbullying and lack of privacy protection. Kids, themselves, are also very much worried about their personal information being shared online, found a recent survey by the company. The results were much higher than anticipated, observed TotallyAwesome’s Chief Operating Officer, Marcus Herrmann. 

On 29 July 2019, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) presented its final report on the Digital Platforms Inquiry. TotallyAwesome participated in the inquiry and submitted a proposal with several recommendations to better protect Australian kids online. In its 623-page document, the ACCC called for more regulation on data collection, content delivery, transparency on how companies are using data, and stronger protection against privacy rules, especially where children’s data is collected. It also raised flags on possible anti-competitive practices through the dominance of global tech giants Facebook and Google.

The record notes that Facebook and Google dominate the digital sphere with Australians spending 20.5 percent of their time online on Google-owned sites such as YouTube and Google search and 18.6 percent on Facebook and its owned platforms like Instagram. And it is rightly cautious about the data collected by them. TotallyAwesome’s research found 90 percent of children between the ages of 4-12 have claimed to be on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, jumping the age-gate of 13 and above set by the digital entities.

More control over children’s data

TotallyAwesome welcomes the ACCC’s recommendations for greater protection of minors, especially with regards to the collection of children’s personal information. The recommendations ask for express consent by the child’s guardian when collecting children’s data. The ACCC’s proposal to add restrictions to the collection, use or disclosure of children’s personal information for targeted advertising or online profiling purposes will raise the bar for privacy protection in Australia in line with COPPA and GDPR-K.

The ACCC also recommends significantly higher penalties for the breach of the Privacy Act, raising the fines to up to 10 percent of the business’ annual turnover.

Changes for Kids Advertisers

The implementation of parental consent would entail a complete change in the way kids brands are able to engage with their audience in the digital space: Audience-based targeting, cookies and retargeting does not meet the minimum kids data privacy regulations as they all collect some form of personal information. Instead, advertisers will have to choose zero-data platforms that only target contextually. 

It is in the brands’ best interests to responsibly engage with kids by protecting their privacy and getting ready for the recommendations – and penalties – to be implemented. Here are a few best practices that brands should follow in order to protect kids and therefore ensure their brand-safety:

  • Only use zero-data ad serving technologies or kidtech
  • Only run contextually targeted campaigns
  • Do not buy into remarketing/retargeting campaigns
  • Use kid-safe programmatic ad-buys
  • Be aware of your environment on social media, buy contextually only
  • Control your delivery chain – audit and contract 

“We’re very glad that the ACCC has taken into account our proposal and is now calling for a strict protection of kids’ privacy. This is in line with what already exists in the US and the EU and what is currently happening all around Asia. At TotallyAwesome our mission is to make the internet safer for kids while helping brands to market responsibly through training, certifications, and kid-safe and compliant platforms,” says TotallyAwesome’s Chief Operating Officer Marcus Herrmann.

TotallyAwesome partners with Nickelodeon Australia to create and distribute kid-safe social media content via new local PopJam channel

Sydney August 2019 

TotallyAwesome has partnered with Nickelodeon Australia to successfully launch a local PopJam channel for the iconic kids entertainment brand, allowing them to safely communicate to their under-13 audience in Australia via the leading kid-safe and COPPA compliant social media content platform. 

Already a huge success in the UK and US markets, PopJam offers a fully moderated and curated content experience for an under-13 audience. Kids are able to engage with top kid influencers, leading entertainment brands and publishers within a safe social online community.

Recognising that kids’ consumption of online content is on the rise, Nickelodeon remains committed to working with new social platforms that will better enable them to communicate to their young audience in a safe and secure way. This strategic partnership will see TotallyAwesome assist Nickelodeon Australia to bolster their production and distribution of kid safe and compliant content via the new PopJam platform. 

TotallyAwesome’s CEO Quan Nguyen said: “With over 170,000 children going online for the first time every day and the emergence of data privacy regulations in our region, brands like Nickelodeon are searching for kid-safe and compliant online platforms to communicate to their younger audiences. We are excited to announce the successful launch of Nickelodeon Australia’s local channel on TotallyAwesome’s kid-safe under 13 app PopJam and look forward to working with the team to help them create more opportunities for them to engage more deeply with their audience in a safe and secure way.”


PwC Kids Digital Media Report 2019

PwC Kids Digital Media Report 2019 estimates global kids digital advertising market will be worth $1.7bn by 2021

In 2017, PwC released the ground-breaking Kids Digital Media Report, which estimated that the value of the global kids digital advertising market would hit $1.2bn by 2021. They have just released their latest report with updated data and trends. It’s a compelling read.

Continue reading “PwC Kids Digital Media Report 2019 estimates global kids digital advertising market will be worth $1.7bn by 2021”

Norris Nuts Channel launches on kid safe app PopJam in June

Top global YouTube stars CKN Toys and The Norris Nuts, join the likes of JoJo Siwa, as Kidfluencers on fun kid-safe app PopJam!

PopJam, the world’s leading kids safe-social content sharing platform, now counts top global YouTube stars CKN Toys and The Norris Nuts, joining the likes of JoJo Siwa, as Kidfluencers on the fun app!

Continue reading “Top global YouTube stars CKN Toys and The Norris Nuts, join the likes of JoJo Siwa, as Kidfluencers on fun kid-safe app PopJam!”

Kids trend alert: Gacha, Dollify and the popularity of digital dolls – PopJam

Are dolls going digital? PopJammers are going crazy about Gacha and Dollify.

PopJam, our safe-social platform for under 13s, has always been a place for kids to share their latest trends in a safe and creative community.

Continue reading “Kids trend alert: Gacha, Dollify and the popularity of digital dolls – PopJam”

Why PopJam is where YouTube creators are building kid-safe communities around their content

Platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube are all designed for adult audiences and despite being used by vast numbers of kids, have no support for under-13 engagement (in fact, legally they can’t).

As kids overwhelm these adult platforms, some are reacting by simply shutting down engagement. TikTok has created a whole new user experience (with dramatically curtailed functionality) for its younger users, while YouTube has taken the radical move of switching off comments for any videos created by (or intended for) kids or family users.

The result is a social media ecosystem in which well-intentioned creators find their content deprioritised by algorithms struggling under new restrictions, and audiences of children are left with experiences that restrict engagement.

Interested in kids trends? Every month we create a Kids Insights Report, digging into all the trends in our highly-engaged PopJam community. If you’d like to check out this month’s report, click here.

PopJam is the opposite, built with all of the safety features in place that we consider to be a prerequisite when engaging with children. The platform is now used by hundreds of content owners, brands and creators to provide community-enabled content for the under-13 audience. They use the platform in differing ways according to their requirements: PopJam channels are used by brands to embed their content and community on their sites, while the PopJam video player is used to share their video content compliantly with their under-13 audiences.

On PopJam, content creators can manage their own profiles, upload their own content and engage directly with their audiences, safe in the knowledge that our levels of moderation (maintained by both AI software and a 24-hour team) ensure that the conversations they have are productive, fun and appropriate. They can build an engaged, active community around their content in a way that can never be possible on an adult platform.

With many family and kids channels now without comments (either by choice, or removed by YouTube), creators and influencers are flocking to PopJam as the only safe social under-13 platform. They source ideas for videos, run competitions, engage with each other and get to know new fans on the platform.

Creators and influencers are flocking to PopJam as the only safe social under-13 platform
Creators and influencers are flocking to PopJam as the only safe social under-13 platform

Recently, one of our most popular creators, Sis VS Bro, hit a landmark statistic, with over 100k comments on a post featuring content from their recent YouTube video. In the weeks since posting, the content is still garnering thousands of comments, all from fans moving from YouTube to PopJam to engage more directly with their favourite content creators. Part of the reason for doing this is that YouTube, with its massive scale, is not a place where fans can hope to engage with their favourite content creators – but it’s also because PopJam, with its friendly community and moderated environment, is simply a fun place to be.

PopJam has a variety of different verified channels; Disney, Nickelodeon and Dreamworks all use channels to reach their under-13 audiences. However, influencer-run channels consistently rank among our top channels for engagement.

Some of the newest creators to PopJam, like Kayla, have modest numbers of followers, but that doesn’t stop her fans from engaging positively in the safe environment.

On PopJam, where engagement is encouraged, building a community around the influencer in a way that isn’t possible on other platforms.
On PopJam, where engagement is encouraged, building a community around the influencer in a way that isn’t possible on other platforms.

A truly social experience should enable dialogue and expression, and YouTube, with its mechanisms geared towards broadcast, doesn’t cater for this. On PopJam, we’re pleased to be able to enable a new generation of kids and family creators to engage in conversation with their fans, without fear of abuse or inappropriate content.

If you’re interested in staying on top of technology and kidtech news, we publish several kids industry newsletters which now have over 10k subscribers reading monthly. Sign up now!

Enabling COPPA-compliant programmatic advertising through our KidSafe Filter

The recent enforcement action against Oath’s ad exchange (formerly known as AOL) for breaching COPPA has put a spotlight on programmatic advertising to children. The case highlighted some important issues including the fact that using the ‘COPPA flag’ does not work. In fact, the only guaranteed way for advertisers to be compliant in programmatic ad buying is through a dedicated kidtech solution.

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The TikTok COPPA fine has dramatically upped the stakes in kids digital privacy

The FTC dramatically upped the ante on COPPA enforcement this week with a record-setting fine of $5.7m against the app formerly known as (now TikTok). The settlement says TikTok breached COPPA by knowingly collecting personal information from children without first obtaining parental consent, as required by the law.

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