Children’s Online Privacy Gets a Boost

There is little question that one of the biggest concerns of parents today is their childrens’ online safety. There are few barriers keeping young children from setting up a Facebook account or a free service through Google.

Children's Online Privacy Gets a BoostThankfully, in the FTC issued amendments to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) additional safeguards are in place. In short the COPPA rules:

Require commercial websites and online services that target children under 13 to obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting personal information from children. The rules apply to online services that target children or where the business knows that their users include children under the age of 13. New requirements broaden who must comply with the rules and strengthen the ability to limit the information that may be maintained.

When does this come into play?

The COPPA privacy requirements typically come into play with your children in the following situations:

Point 1 Social Media: Using Facebook accounts, Twitter, Tumblr, and others
Point 2 Gaming: Playing games that use the internet to allow kids to play video games together
Point 3 Mobile Apps: Downloading applications for ipads, Nooks, Kindles and smart phones
Point 4 On-line shopping: Shopping online; especially product purchases like itunes (MP3s) and ring tones.
Point 5 Texting: Using applications like “snap texting” and other communication tools that open up our children to fairly significant privacy challenges

What you need to know

Point 1 Become aware of the existence of the law. Your children should be required to get your ok prior to joining these services.
Point 2 The FTC is authorized to fine non-conforming companies up to $16,000 per violation for noncompliance.
Point 3 Review the COPPA regulations and remind violating suppliers that they must comply with this important privacy regulation.