Citing the International Computer Science Institute research (ICSI), it said that more than half of 5,855 Android apps on Google Play were potentially violating US privacy laws that protect children under 13 from invasive data collection.
The ICSI researchers used a new automated system to determine whether the apps complied with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
"One of the most disturbing findings from the study was that 256 of the apps collected the location data of children without the permission of parents. Other data improperly collected included personal details like names, email addresses and phone numbers," The Independent report said.
The researchers said that the study results are representative given that the apps that were examined represent the most popular free ones on Google Play.
The researchers could not evaluate apps running on iPhones and iPads as they did not have access to Apple's iOS data.
The Independent could not get reaction from Google as its spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
The study comes as more than 20 consumer advocacy groups claimed that YouTube is violating COPPA by deliberately profiting from the data collection of children.