Khan Academy Warning

by Carie
(Syracuse, Utah)

Looking for free online courses? Check out this Khan Academy warning, and learn how some companies mine your children's personal information...

On the surface Khan Academy is a wonderful tool for helping students work through a variety of subjects. Unfortunately, their level of data collection on students who access their site is unprecedented.

They have admitted the goal of their site is dual purpose. To provide a resource for students to get help with school work and to also gather as much data as possible. When I make a curriculum choice for my kids, I look for something that we can use at home that will be for their benefit without "side effects". I am not interested in having my kids be part of Khan Academy's science project. I have no idea what they are doing with the data and I don't know to what extent my computer has been infiltrated to reach their collection ends.

I cannot endorse a program that it so invasive. There are other ways to get lesson help online or even out of a great book or other curriculum.

One of the things that draws people to Khan Academy is the fact it is free. Anyone can create an account and use it. When you pay for a service, you have greater access to holding accountable that company for which you have paid. Free doesn't mean it is good.

Thanks so much for sharing your experience with AND privacy concerns about Khan Academy. Your comments are VERY helpful and informative, and I hope other parents will think twice about potential dangers of using free online courses and programs on the internet.

Below, I have include additional information about Khan Academy's privacy policy, and as well as other educational programs that have questionable privacy policies.

The following quote is from Politico's "Data Mining your Children" article, from May 2014:

"Consider the popular nonprofit tutorial service Khan Academy. It's free. But users do pay a price: In effect, they trade their data for the tutoring.
"Data is the real asset," founder Sal Khan told an academic conference last fall.

The site tracks the academic progress of students 13 and older as they work through online lessons in math, science and other subjects. It also logs their location when they sign in and monitors their Web browsing habits. And it reserves the right to seek out personal details about users from other sources, as well, potentially building rich profiles of their interests and connections.

After POLITICO inquired about Khan Academy's privacy policy, which gave it the right to draw on students’ personal information to send them customized advertising, the policy was completely rewritten. The new text, posted online late last week, emphasizes Khan Academy’s commitment to protecting privacy and deletes the line about targeted advertising.

But the revised policy makes clear that Khan Academy still allows third parties, such as YouTube and Google, to place the tiny text files known as "cookies" on students' computers to collect and store information about their Web usage. Khan Academy also states that it may share personal information with app developers and other external partners, with students' consent.

A spokeswoman for the site said Khan Academy's main goal in collecting data is to "help students learn effectively and efficiently."

Read the entire article here.

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