As things currently stand, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) places strict limits on how information about children under 13 years of age is collected for advertising purposes. Because of this, children aren’t allowed to create a Gmail or YouTube account. However, Google might be working on kid-friendly accounts, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
These accounts, specifically geared toward children, would allow parents to control how their children use the services and what information about them is collected. Google is already working on a kid-friendly version of YouTube that would allow parents to oversee what their kids are watching, according to a report by The Information.
Currently, if you’re under 13, Google will direct you to a page saying that, because you do not meet the age requirement, your account could not be created. While that likely hasn’t stopped children from masquerading as adults, this could be seen as a power play on Google’s part. With Google expanding its user base to include children under 13, we could see the company go into different directions to retain the young user base.