On April 19, 2022, the BBB National Programs’ Center (BBB NP) for Industry Self-Regulation launched the TeenAge Privacy Program (TAPP) Roadmap, a new operational framework to help companies develop digital products and services attuned to privacy risks facing teenage consumers. In the United States, children 12 and under are protected by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Once these children become teenagers, they age out of COPPA’s protections and, with limited exceptions, are treated as adults online. Yet a growing body of research indicates that these teenage consumers are uniquely affected by privacy risks resulting in harms ranging from cyberbullying, to platform addiction, to amplified insecurities.1 Regulators are increasingly interested in investigating these harms. For instance, in a widely publicized incident, a coalition of state Attorneys General recently opened an investigation into Instagram following news reports of a whistleblower’s allegations that Facebook’s privacy practices harmed teenage users. Despite increased public and regulatory scrutiny, no federal law has been enacted to provide companies with guidance on these issues. While it is not legally binding, the TAPP Roadmap aims to help fill this guidance gap by providing organizations with concrete operational considerations and best practices to address teen privacy risks.
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