KOALA (Kids Online Anonymity & Lifelong Autonomy) is an impact acceleration project funded by Oxford University’s EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account, partnering with Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. The general goal of the KOALA project is to investigate the impact of personal data collection practices of mobile apps upon the general well-being of young children aged 6-10.

The background for the project is that tablet computers are becoming the primary means for young children to go online. However, few studies have examined how young children under 11 perceive and cope with personal data privacy during their interactions with these mobile technologies. Research in our current EPSRC SOCIAM project has revealed that a large amount of personal information is tracked while young children are interacting with tablet computers. Although the impact of these technologies upon the well-being of adults or teenagers are better understood, we know little about their impact upon young children.

The main objective of KOALA is thus to work with mental health researchers from AF, parents and educators of young children, as well as young children themselves, to better understand the impact of personal data collection by mobile apps upon the well-being and health of young children.

Screenshot from KOALA Hero App - Overview