Got Kids Under 13?

It’s summertime. For kids, that might mean days at the pool, sleep-away camp, summer school…and hours on some computer or mobile device, if they can possibly get away with it. 

Starting today, parents might feel a little better about their younger kids’ privacy online. That’s because changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) rule take effect today. The act requires operators of websites or online services directed to kids under 13 to give notice to parents — and get their verifiable consent — before collecting, using, or disclosing a kid’s personal information. The rule also applies to general audience sites that know they’re collecting information from kids under 13, and to sites and online services that have actual knowledge they’re collecting information from sites directed to children. The rule applies to apps, too, not just to websites.

The new COPPA rule beefs up privacy protections and parental controls, and bars the use of behavioral marketing techniques aimed at kids without getting a parent’s okay. To get verifiable consent from parents, sites will have to provide:

  • Clearer, easier to understand notices that put key information up front.
  • Privacy policies, not just on the home or landing page — or the app screen — but also wherever the site or service collects personal information. The privacy policy must give details about the kinds of information the site collects, what it might do with the information, and parents’ rights to exercise control – including to stop future collection and delete information already collected.
  • Directions on how to give your consent — it might mean a permission slip, a toll-free number to call, or something else. And you get to decide how much permission to give: for example, maybe you’re OK with a site collecting your kid’s information, but not with sharing it. It’s up to you.

In addition, the new COPPA rule changes the definition of personal information to make it clear that geolocation information is included and to expand it to add photos, videos, and audio files that contain a child’s image or voice. They also re-define the collection of personal information so that operators may allow kids to participate in interactive communities without their parent’s okay — as long as the operators don’t otherwise collect personal information, and take reasonable measures to delete kids’ personal information before it is made public.  

Learn more about the changes to the COPPA Rule. And if you have a site for kids, you might want to check out this advice for businesses.


What I heard is that if children who're under age of 13 use Snapchat, Instagram, twitter, and even other social media services, they can get extremely at risk of getting bullied anywhere......

This is the step that should have been taken a long time ago. Networked environment and complete freedom has created quite a depressing situation. Kids hide behind a computer screen and say what they want to say. Cyber bullying is one of the bleak results. Parents are the last to know that their child is being bullied.
This is the high time to take some action so that the guardian must know what their child is doing.


This is a very good blog from parents that want to have their kids safe

Yes - this is certainly a step forward. The industry now collects so much personal information. I've even read that the large data brokers and personal information aggregators are a threat to a child's privacy? The free opt out services from a company can help if you find your kid's information on the Internet in places it shouldn't be. Protecting you online privacy is hard!

Leave a Comment

Comment Policy

Read Our Privacy Act Statement

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.