The Invisible User: How Chief Product Officers Can Design Tech with Children’s Data Privacy in Mind

It is no surprise that kids these days are considered “digital natives,” meaning they will naturally adopt any new technology, product or service, even if those products aren’t specifically designed for kids. For example, young children may access gaming and streaming apps on their parents’ devices for entertainment, while teenagers may access shopping apps to buy clothes or food for delivery from their parents’ accounts.


Although this access may be convenient for families, it can have a sinister side. When left unsupervised and unrestricted, children could add costly purchases to their parents’ virtual shopping carts


This ongoing trend requires companies to expand their approach to how they design, launch and market their offerings to consider this “invisible user.” Even when children are not their primary user, these products need to consider children’s safety and privacy. 


In today’s digital age, Chief Product Officers must take on the crucial role of ensuring that cutting edge tech innovations are safe for users of all ages. Online interactions deeply impact children’s development, and having a team member who is dedicated to navigating the intersection of tech and parenting is not just a luxury—it is a necessity. Products launched by banks and credit unions are no exception.


Traditionally, when designing their banking tech, most product teams of financial institutions think of the bank customer or credit union member. They may ask: 


1. What experience are they looking for? 

2. What challenges do they face that this technology would solve? 

3. What function or feature will ultimately influence them to sign up for an account with us? 


More often than not, this imaginary user is an adult with their own banking or credit union account. However, product teams neglect to think of children when designing their technology with this approach.


Furthermore, consumers have started to enter the marketplace at younger ages. According to a recent Cornerstone report, Gen Z’s spending power reached an estimated $360 billion in 2021



As more data illustrates the active role younger generations play in the economy, more companies recognize their spending power and business potential. This opportunity comes with significant hurdles regarding privacy and compliance around this younger demographic that most businesses haven’t considered or haven’t built into the core of their technology.


To truly engage this demographic, maximize their buying potential, and ensure children’s data is protected, banks and credit unions – and businesses across every market – should think like a parent when designing their technology.


Advocating for Parents


When making a purchase for their kid/s, parents take several considerations into account:


1. How will my child use this technology?

2. Will it be easy for them to use?

3. Is it safe for my child?


To address their concerns and simplify their decision process, the Chief Product Officer can build these considerations right into the core of their technology.


For example, most technology products or services rely on customer accounts and profiles to function. Products designed for minors; however, require parental consent to collect children’s data to meet compliance with children’s data privacy regulations like the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). This requirement often results in extra steps for parents during the account set-up process, leading to a cumbersome user experience.


Conversely, a product designed with a “data minimization” strategy – that states the best way to protect a child’s online data is to never collect it in the first place – can be a viable solution. This is counter to most common methods of setting up an online account, which can only function by using an email address, first name, last name, etc. Creating a financially viable checking account for a child without getting any information requires a truly unique approach to its user experience.


When the core of a banking technology is built with data minimization in mind, it creates a better customer experience for the parent, while also ensuring the technology is safe for children to use. 


However, a financial institution may not have a team equipped with the expertise or bandwidth to build – or worse, rebuild – a technology product with a data minimization strategy and user experience ideal for kids. To meet children’s data privacy regulations, banks can implement a white-label family digital wallet—designed with data minimization and children’s interests at its core—into their banking platform. 


Integrate a White-Label Family Digital Wallet


REGO’s family digital wallet prioritizes children’s safety and financial literacy. With data minimization already built into the family digital wallet’s core, children’s data is not collected, stored, or sold because the wallet does not collect their data at all.


With REGO’s family digital wallet, parents are able to safely and effectively empower their kids with financial independence. Through the platform, children can practice spending, saving, investing, and donating money under their parents’ supervision. Meanwhile, banks and credit unions can engage with future bankers or members at an earlier age, increasing the likelihood that they’ll turn into lifelong users.

To start offering family banking to parents and their kids, set up a demo with the REGO team.