How to Protect Your Child's Privacy Online

Websites popular among children and teens place more tracking technologies on users’ computers than do the top websites aimed at adults, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found. But parents can take steps to limit their children’s exposure.

Web-browsing activity is tracked by “cookies,” “beacons” and “Flash cookies,” small computer files or software programs installed on a computer when a user visits some Web pages. Some are useful. But others are used by companies to track users from site to site and build profiles of their online activities.

All Internet users, whether adults or children, can limit tracking by adjusting settings on Web browsers and Adobe Systems Inc.’s (ADBE) popular Flash program. These settings can delete cookies and limit what types of cookies may be placed on the computer. For additional protection, parents also can install small programs, called “add-ons,” to a child’s browser. And parents can prevent children from seeing behaviorally targeted ads through tools provided by the ad networks.

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