President Biden in his State of the Union address urged Congress to crack down on social media platforms for the harms they cause to young people’s mental health. He also urged lawmakers to bar tech companies and advertisers from collecting data on and serving targeted ads to children. And while both privacy advocates and advertisers agree that protecting children’s privacy and safety is paramount, they warn against pushes for all-out bans on ad targeting.

“It is encouraging to see the recognition and prioritization of the need to strengthen children’s privacy protections,” says Arielle Garcia, chief privacy officer at global ad agency UM Worldwide. “It will be interesting to see if the ‘Actual Knowledge’ standard that exists under COPPA is addressed and perhaps re-visited to foster greater accountability on the part of platforms and developers and curtail the ‘Well, we didn’t know’ argument that we have seen in the past related to the collection and use of children’s data.”

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