Privacy advocates and the FTC are putting pressure on a number of major tech companies, including Apple, Amazon and Yelp, for allowing children to register on their sites. What's the big deal? It's not about kiddie porn or fears that a child will hook up with a molester. It\u2019s something a lot less dramatic, but still very important.\nWhen children register on certain sites they can buy stuff without the approval of their parents. Kids' email addresses, and other potentially sensitive information, are passed on to third parties that might try sell them even more stuff. Spam bots and other mechanisms can also pick up email addresses, leading to a barrage of messages that parents would not want their kids to receive.\nThis is an ongoing issue and you\u2019ve got to wonder if the fines that the government is levying against tech companies are enough to convince these super rich outfits to get their acts together.\nEarlier this week, Yelp agreed to pay a $450,000 fine to the FTC, and TinyCo, a mobile gaming studio, will also fork over $300,000 as part of a settlement. The FTC accused both companies of violating privacy rules by not properly screening minors in its registration process.\nThose two companies are hardly alone. In July, the FTC sued Amazon after it received thousands of complaints from parents regarding in-app charges incurred by their kids without permission.\nAmazon's Appstore is preloaded on the company's Kindle tablets and is available for download on an array of Android smartphones and tablets. In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, the FTC said, \u201cAmazon controls the billing process for in-app charges and retains 30 percent of all revenue from in-app charges, amounting to tens of millions of dollars to date.\u201d\nThe FTC recently settled similar charges with Apple. In that case, the FTC charged Apple with "billing consumers for millions of dollars of charges incurred by children in kids' mobile apps without their parents' consent." Under the terms of the settlement, Apple must provide a refund for affected consumers and must change its billing practices to ensure that it has obtained express, informed consent from consumers before charging them for items sold via mobile apps.\nGoogle agreed to settle similar charges with the FTC and repay $19 million to consumers whose children were allegedly deceived into making mobile purchases through the Android app store.\nIt doesn\u2019t look like Yelp was making big bucks by allowing minors to sign up. But the FTC\u2019s complaint against the company\u00a0alleges that, from 2009 to 2013, it collected personal information from children through the Yelp app without first notifying parents and obtaining their consent.\nAccording to the complaint, several thousand registrants provided a date of birth showing they were under 13 years old, but Yelp still collected personal information, including names, email addresses and locations.\nYelp commented on the settlement in a blog post, saying \u201cYelp doesn\u2019t promote itself as a place for children, and we certainly don\u2019t expect or encourage them to write reviews about their plumbers, dentists, or latest gastronomic discoveries. We\u2019re glad to have been able to cooperate with the FTC to get to a quick resolution and look forward to continuing our efforts to protect our users.\u201d\nSounds good, but I think there needs to be a more concerted effort on the part of the tech giants to stop such exploitive practices.\nUpdate: TinyCo has posted this statement regarding the settlement: "We have worked with the FTC to correct these issues, and have removed all email addresses collected by our old in-game social identity system, some of which may have belonged to children under the age of 13."