Kids' Online Privacy: The Next Generation

It’s no secret that kids take to the Internet like — hmm, ducks to water.

It’s also no secret that parents are concerned about their kids’ privacy online.

And it’s no secret that since April 2000, the FTC has vigorously enforced the Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act, which 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 pre-teen’s personal information.

Now the FTC has announced some changes to the COPPA Rule that beef up privacy protections and parental controls, and bar the use of behavioral marketing techniques aimed at kids without getting a parent’s okay. The changes also:

  • expand the definition of personal information to include geolocation information, as well as photos, videos, and audio files that contain a child’s image or voice; 
  • re-define 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 take reasonable measures to delete all a preteen’s personal information before it is made public;  
  • require that parental notices put key information upfront so that what operators tell Moms and Dads is clearer and easier to understand. Clear, concise descriptions of information practices could mean we’ll be seeing privacy policies that actually are readable on smaller screens.                         

You can find the details of the amendments to the COPPA Rule here, but the 50,000-foot view is this: The changes are primarily about permission. They make it easier for operators to get permission directly from parents upfront, and they make it easier for parents to read the notices — and if they choose, to give their okay.

Tagged with: COPPA, FTC, kids, privacy


I have a young child who lives w me 50% of the time and dad 50% of time I'm not allowed to have dad address nor home phone nor does dad follow court order stating a certain teenager who has been accused of abuse babysit. My son seems to have some basic knowledge about the internet i have never let him on computer nor gave consent how can i find out if he is using computer w teen babysitter on x box

i dont think it right for that kind of person to watch your kid but what goes on at his dads house you cant control so dont worry bout what he doing. and just a little heads up if your too strict on him now and his dad lets him get away with more he will end up living with his dad 100% of the time because he doesnt like your rules. so lighten up some almost 80% of americas children play on the internet daily its not a bad thing.

I believe that kids under the age of 13 should have online privacy. They should have privacy because there is cyber bullying everywhere. Not only is there cyber bulling but kids need their parents permission to use the computer and know what their kids are up to. Parent have the right to know what their kids are doing in the computer whether its homework or and entertainment site.

I the new changes because it gives the kid a little freedom because if the parent is all ways over the kids shoulder the kid is going to sense that there is more out there making him want to find those thing but this gives the kid freedom so he knows that this what he's getting when he gets on the computer

I think that kids should have the freedom to go onto site as long as it doesn't show nudity, foul language, or a lot of gory scenes. In my home, we are all only allowed 2hrs. on the computer for games and social sites, but my parents check for viruses, and other harmful things.

I found out about COPPA the hard way. I had set up my daughter with a Gmail account when she was maybe 10 years old. I bought her an Android tablet and phone as well. Like virtually everybody I don't claim to be a lawyer and don't read the 20 pages of legalese when signing up for things. I figured since they never asked for DOB that wasn't an issue.

I tried to send her $5 with Google Wallet a couple months ago and she was prompted for her DOB. She answered honestly as I requested and then her account was abruptly shut down.

Now her e-mail and Google Docs with her homework are gone as is her Google Voice. Now her phone and tablet are in my name. Oh and her phone and texts wouldn’t work which in itself could have been dangerous- fortunately this happened while she was at home. She can't use Docs for her homework or video chat with me while I'm on the road. But she can watch Netflix and play video games. She's using a device setup for adults now, with all that implies. Thanks COPPA!

If the FTC should do something, they should have a big sticker on the package of all Android devices that says must be 13 or older to use. I would guess that millions of kids have an Android phone or tablet and will find out about COPPA the hard way like we did!

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