Complaint that YouTube collects children's personal information

It’s not only Facebook under fire for privacy concerns, but now YouTube.

Consumer and child advocacy groups claim YouTube’s parent company Google is breaking the law by collecting personal information of children.

Like many parents, David Cobos allows his young daughters to watch kid-friendly videos on YouTube for entertainment.

“I let them watch for 15 to 30 minutes in a day and mainly it's just playing with toys,” said Cobos. “(The video) shows the different little features, little toys that they have.”

“The challenge is YouTube has been tracking the devices that people use to view their content,” said Bob O’Donnell of Technalysis Research. “There's a lot of kids content on YouTube. Therefore, YouTube is essentially tracking the kids.”

In a complaint filed Monday, child advocates and consumer groups want the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and fine YouTube’s owner Google. 

They claim YouTube is violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act or COPPA which bans internet companies from collecting personal information from kids younger than the age of 13 without their parent’s consent.

Elizabeth Galicia is with Common Sense Kids Action, one of the 23 groups that drafted the complaint.

“You have to ask yourselves are they making decisions that are in kids’ best interest or in their bottom line's best interest?” said Galicia.

YouTube tracks search history and other data so it can tailor its ads. According to the site's terms and agreement, YouTube is only for people 13 and older. Many parents don't realize that or ignore the rules.

“I think this is a legitimate concern and I think YouTube is going to have to address this,” said O’Donnell.

O’Donnell said Google can remove children's content off YouTube’s main site or clearly state what data is being tracked.

In a statement, YouTube said, “We are reviewing the complaint and will evaluate if there are things we can do to improve. protecting kids and families has always been a top priority for us.”               

The statement went on to point parents to the YouTube Kids app as an alternative site for children.