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A review of critical news coverage of educational technology privacy concerns in the United States
The introduction of Educational Technology in schools is often touted as an exciting benefit for students, and there is no shortage of laudatory press releases regarding EdTech company partnerships in public schools. On the other hand, investigative journalists reporting on educational news have labeled school administrators’ ceding of control within the educational sphere to technology companies as “Edutech Shiny Toy Syndrome,” stating that the true aim of those companies is “grabbing student and family data under the guise of ‘innovation’ and luring the next generation of addiction consumers” (Malkin, 2019). Google, Inc is also accused by children’s advocacy groups and lawmakers alike of violating COPPA (see governmental policy analysis section) since it keeps records of YouTube videos watched by each individual user who accesses the site, regardless of age (Ingram, 2018; Maheshwari, 2018). With these news events in mind, users may recognize that even if they closely read EULA/TOS and privacy policies for technological platforms and agree to the terms, there is nothing that guarantees the companies will abide by them. While much news coverage appears to be critical of EdTech, the continued success of educational technology companies in the United States seems to speak to a disregard by teachers and/or schools for such reports.