Think of the Children

McDonald’s Accused of Shadily Marketing to Kids via Online Games

Just hanging out, maybe collecting some emails. (Photo:

Ronald McDonald probably isn’t the first person who comes to mind when parents think “internet dangers,” but you probably don’t want your kids getting unsolicited emails about the glories of french fries, either.

Well, bad news: The New York Times reports that several advocacy organizations have filed a complaint with the FTC, alleging that Micky D’s and four other companies–Viacom, General Mills, Subway and Turner–are exploiting a legal loophole in their online marketing to kids.

In true corporate fashion, however, these companies aren’t doing anything so straightforward as simply asking for 9-year-olds’ email addresses. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act in fact requires sites to get parents’ “verifiable consent”  before they can collect the personal info of kids younger than 13. Read More