BBB National Programs Archive
CARU Recommends WhatNot Toys, Featured at Ryan Toys Review, Take Steps to Better Protect Children’s Privacy, Company Agrees to Do So
New York, NY – Oct. 18, 2017 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit has recommended that WhatNot Toys, Inc., which advertises at the YouTube channel “Ryan Toys Review,” put in place privacy practices that are compliant with CARU’s guidelines and federal law.
The company has agreed to do so.
CARU, an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation, monitors websites and mobile applications for compliance with CARU’s Self-Regulatory Program for Children’s Advertising, including guidelines on privacy protection, as well as with the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. CARU is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
CARU was directed to the advertiser’s website, WhatNotToys.com, from a child-directed video that appeared at Ryan Toys Review. Child viewers were encouraged to visit the website and sign up for a free toy package.
To receive the package, visitors had to go to the website page mentioned in the video and fill out an online form. When a visitor submitted the form he or she was automatically signed up to receive future promotions from the WhatNot Toys company.
The form requested personal information that included an email and street address, and first and last name and stated: “Sign up today but if you are under 13, please be sure to ask your parents for permission!”
CARU was concerned that the Website did not effectively age-screen and obtain parental consent before allowing children to provide personally identifiable information.
In response to CARU’s inquiry, the advertiser stated that it believed it was in compliance with applicable law by including the disclaimer that children under the age of 13 must obtain parental consent before signing up for the product giveaway. As CARU noted in its decision, requesting that children ask their parents for permission is not a defined method of providing notices to parents to obtain parental consent. CARU recommended that in future promotions of this type, the company use an effective age-screen and provide notice and obtain parental consent before collecting personal information from children for promotional purposes
WhatNot Toys took down the non-compliant web-form and agreed to comply with CARU’s recommendations in future promotions.