Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Child advocate groups led by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood leveled a complaint Friday with the Federal Trade Commission against Prodigy Education, accusing the math game company of deceiving teachers and parents into believing the program is free while aggressively marketing a $59 premium membership to children.

Why it matters: As children's screentime has skyrocketed during the pandemic, educational online programs are especially appealing to parents who are more concerned about how kids are spending time online.

"Kids are more dependent than ever on remote learning, and spending more time than ever on digital devices. Educators and parents are struggling to make the right choices about which platforms will truly aid children's education — essentially what is a good use of students' time?"
— David Monahan, spokesperson for the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

Driving the news: 22 groups led by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood leveled a complaint Friday with the Federal Trade Commission against Prodigy Education, accusing the math game company of deceiving teachers and parents into believing the program is free while aggressively marketing a $59 premium membership to children.

  • Prodigy, which raised $125 million in funding last month and has more than 100 million users worldwide, lets kids explore a fantasy world and battle opponents by answering math questions.
  • The company offers a free in-school version, but the at-home version advertises a premium membership that tempts children with virtual rewards like sparkly treasure boxes available only to members, according to the complaint shared with Axios.
  • The groups say this creates inequities in that are visible in the classroom version where "bejeweled members sail around on a cloud, while non-members literally tromp in the dirt."

The big picture: Federal enforcers already are scrutinizing how children use and interact with online companies.

  • The FTC in December launched a sweeping probe into the privacy and data collection practices of nine major social media and streaming companies, including seeking information on how their practices affect children and teens.

What they're saying: "Prodigy’s insidious business model is creating a new form of inequality in classrooms,” CCFC executive director Josh Golin said in a statement. “Parents are trying to make the most of the educational tools at their disposal during this unprecedented time, and many are struggling to make ends meet."

The other side: The majority of Prodigy users have the free subscription, and no payment is required for students to receive access to the educational content in the game, a company spokesperson told Axios.

  • "We’re proud to provide millions of students, families, and schools with completely free access to standards-aligned educational tools to support in-class and at home learning," the spokesperson said in a statement. "To support us in offering all of this educational content for free, we also provide optional memberships for families for use outside of school."

Go deeper: What we overlooked in the switch to remote learning

Go deeper

Feb 18, 2021 - World

New Zealand schools to provide free period products

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health director-deneral Ashley Bloomfield arrive for a news conference at Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, Monday. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

All New Zealand schools will from June provide students with access to free menstrual products following a successful trial, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Thursday.

Why it matters: It's the latest sign a global push to stamp out period poverty by providing menstrual products at no cost or tax-free is gaining momentum.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Americans increasingly see China as an enemy

One in three Americans, and a majority of Republicans, now view China as an enemy of the United States, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center.

By the numbers: Just 9% of Americans consider China a "partner," while 55% see Beijing as a "competitor" and 34% as an "enemy."

Scoop: Leaked HHS docs spotlight Biden's child migrant dilemma

A group of undocumented immigrants walk toward a Customs and Border Patrol station after being apprehended. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Fresh internal documents from the Department of Health and Human Services show how quickly the number of child migrants crossing the border is overwhelming the administration's stretched resources.

Driving the news: In the week ending March 1, the Border Patrol referred to HHS custody an average of 321 children per day, according to documents obtained by Axios. That's up from a weekly average of 203 in late January and early February — and just 47 per day during the first week of January.