Our Privacy Work

What is the Common Sense Privacy Program?

Purpose: The Common Sense Privacy Program evaluates popular applications and services for children, protects child and student privacy, and supports a more secure digital future for kids everywhere. Our evaluations help parents and educators make sense of the complex policies and terms related to popular tools used in homes and classrooms across the country. For more than 15 years, Common Sense has been a trusted resource for millions of parents and educators as they guide their children and students through the digital world.

Projects: Parents and schools face numerous challenges when it comes to balancing the use of education and consumer apps and, now, smart devices with the requirements of and concerns about online privacy and security. The Privacy Program has several resources currently available and in development to help parents and schools learn more about privacy by design and security best practices.

Evaluations: Parents and educators can use our easy-to-understand privacy evaluations to make informed choices about the products they use at home and in the classroom. With Common Sense privacy evaluations, anyone can confront privacy concerns before they start. That's why the Common Sense Privacy Program was created: to champion child and student privacy and to support parents, educators, schools, and communities on a path toward a more secure digital future for all kids.

Research: The Privacy Program is backed by cutting-edge research that analyzes privacy and security industry trends. It is led by a team of experts in privacy and designed to shed light on critical issues for child and student learning and digital citizenship.

Partnerships: Potential partners are welcome to explore our site at https://privacy.commonsense.org to get a preview of our privacy evaluations and research. We look forward to working with industry partners who support our efforts to improve transparency and privacy for students, children, and families.

Outreach: The Privacy Program works with companies and consumers to educate them about and advocate for better privacy practices. The Privacy Program provides different types of information about a product's privacy practices tailored to a wide range of audiences who have different levels of privacy and security awareness.

History: The privacy evaluations have been designed with the help and support of a consortium of schools and districts across the United States. These evaluations are designed to streamline making an informed decision about the potential privacy implications of educational technology used to support teaching and learning. In mid-2014, Common Sense Education was approached by a group of CIOs and instructional technology directors representing eight major urban school districts around the country: the Houston Independent School District; the NYC Department of Education; the Clark County School District (Nevada); Denver Public Schools; Nashville Public Schools (Tennessee); Chicago Public Schools; Fairfax County Public Schools (Virginia); and Omaha Public Schools (Nebraska). These districts, representing more than 2.3 million students, were responding to concerns from parents and school boards about kids using digital tools in school for which clear privacy information was not readily available.