October 24, 2012
McDonald’s has removed social networking features that target children on two of its websites. Games on HappyMeal.com and McWorld.com no longer feature the “tell-a-friend” option and children can no longer send e-cards to one another through the “RonaldGram” function on HappyMeal.com.
The changes come after a coalition of nearly 20 children’s health, privacy, and consumer advocacy organizations, led by the Center for Digital Democracy, filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission, claiming that online marketing to children by well-known companies violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
“Using young children to market products to their friends behind parents' backs is outrageous,” said Jennifer Harris, PhD, MBA, Rudd Center Director of Marketing Initiatives. “We applaud McDonald's for discontinuing this practice, and encourage others, including General Mills and Nickelodeon, to do the same.”