Privacy Ratings

At home and in schools and districts, parents and educators make decisions about privacy based on their specific needs. The privacy evaluation process is designed to support families and educators as they make informed choices about the media and technology they use with kids at home or in the classroom. Our expert reviewers read the privacy policies and terms of use for hundreds of products in order to evaluate those tools across key privacy concerns. Then, each one is assigned one of the following ratings:

Rating icon for PassRating label for Pass Meets our minimum requirements for privacy and security practices;

Rating icon for WarningRating label for Warning Does not meet our recommendations for privacy and security practices; and

Rating icon for FailRating label for Fail Does not have a privacy policy and/or does not use encryption and should not be used.

Learn more about the rating criteria used to determine a product's rating.

Overall Scores

Every product with a privacy rating includes an overall evaluation score. A higher score (up to 100%) means the product provides more transparent and comprehensive privacy policies with better practices to protect user data. The overall score is not an average of the individual evaluation concern scores, but rather is a percentage of the number of points earned for basic evaluation questions. Products that receive a high overall score are not necessarily problem-free, because they can receive either a "pass" or "warning" rating depending on how they answer the most important rating criteria questions. Similarly, products with a low overall score are not necessarily unsafe, because they can receive either a "pass" or "warning" rating.

For example, here is a privacy rating with an overall score:

privacy rating and score

The score is best used is as an indicator of how much additional work a person will need to do to make an informed decision about a product. This use is directly related to the core work driving the evaluations: to help people make informed decisions about a product with less effort. The higher the number, the less effort required to make an informed and appropriate decision.

Evaluation Concerns

The privacy evaluation process breaks down a product's overall score into several concern categories based on a subset of evaluation questions that can be used to quickly identify particular strengths and weaknesses and compare similar products. Each evaluation concern category has its own concern scores with easy to understand ratings to help provide a focused understanding about the different privacy‐, security‐, safety‐, and compliance‐related issues that compose a particular concern for an application or service.

The concerns ultimately provide parents and teachers with more relevant information to make a more informed decision about whether to use a particular application or service based on the concerns that matter most to their kids and students. Each privacy concern category below is organized by the most important and easy-to-understand privacy practices in order to quickly evaluate how an application or service compares to similar products.

Concern Scores

The ratings and scores for each evaluation concern category are described below with a range of "best" to "poor":

  • Best (81-100)

  • Good (61-80)

  • Average (41-60)

  • Fair (21-40)

  • Poor (0-20)

Products that score a "poor" are not necessarily unsafe, but they have a higher number of privacy problems than the "average" product. Similarly, products that score "best" are not necessarily problem-free, but had relatively fewer problems compared with other products.