Kids’ Privacy in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Kadho Inc
Kadho Inc
May 18, 2018 · 4 min read

Our kids are growing up with the latest technologies around, and the lines between risk and safety are getting blurred. How does one of the fastest rising technologies — artificial intelligence — affect kids’ privacy, is a critically important consideration for most parents today. Machines and smart toys, embedded with artificial intelligence, bear a huge significance for kids from a learning and cognitive development point of view; and that’s why artificial intelligence is now the underlying force behind robots, chat bots, learning apps, smart classrooms, and social networks. For instance, we have Spider-Man by Sphero, Professor Einstein from Hanson Robotics, Amazon’s Echo etc. all with applications specifically designed for kids education and entertainment. There is also a new range of GPS-enabled wearable for kids that allow parents track and monitor their kids’ whereabouts.

But, do you know that all these smart gadgets and AI-enabled apps collect your kids’ data for marketing and data-analytics purposes?

The AI-enabled devices and online solutions have been marked with serious concerns regarding kids’ privacy and cyber security. Think of the case of how Amazon’s Echo was found to break the kids’ privacy laws’ discussed in an article published in The Guardian. Apple’s Siri, on iPhones and iPads, probably also violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). One advert for the virtual assistant includes a young girl talking to Siri, while its latest commercial features Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. The company is also rumored to be working on a standalone voice-controlled device.

A lot of reasons have been under debate for quite some time regarding why the age of Artificial Intelligence and toys/wearable embedded with this technology are problematic in terms of kids’ data privacy and security online. Most of the online AI-based solutions, apps, and software, designed for kids’ education and learning, collect a significant level of personal information, some of which is legally-protected, in particular, in the context of information regarding kids and/or from kids. Many of these are so sophisticated that they can easily adapt to a kid’s actions and process the information through voice sensors, microphones, compasses, cameras, Bluetooth, or radio transmitters. The smart toys, built over AI technology, are connected to the internet, which enables the remote servers to gather data to power the toy or app’s intelligence functionality. The other ever-expanding aspect of AI technology is that it has expanded beyond the schools’ boundaries to homes and literally anywhere, to help educational functions and manage kids’ learning and emotions.

First step in communicating with technology is automatic speech recognition or ASR. The significance of speech recognition software, apps, and machines for kids cannot be denied in this digital age. However, the current ASR solutions and apps not only have data privacy issues as they are non-compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), but they have also failed to address the distinctive linguistic patterns and speech recognition needs of kids.

With all that background, current speech recognition software provided by Google, Apple’s Siri, IBM Watson, Microsoft Bing and other AI-based apps, are not suitable for kids as they do not follow the COPPA laws and do not let the kids leverage on the AI technology the way they should.

How to Ensure Kids’ Privacy in AI Age Without Forgoing the Usefulness of Technology?

The fact that AI technology is the future of kids education and overall the medium to communicate with technology around us has parents concerned with their kids privacy. Recognizing the importance of speech recognition software and apps for kids, KidSense has brought the ground-breaking offline (embedded) ASR platform, which not only offers real-time speech assessment but it is the only AI-embedded ASR solution that does not collect kids’ data, being strictly compliant with COPPA. Its exclusive user-interface has been designed only for kids, offering multiple language support, efficient recognition of kids’ linguistic characteristics, and predictable pricing with offline solutions. Because of its unique value proposition, is the only solution of its kind that enables parents globally to let their children enjoy technology without comprising on their privacy. is also being heavily used in a range of industries including toys, robotics and educational content.

Kadho Inc

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Kadho Inc

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