However, for children under the age of 13, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) applies. COPPA’s purpose is to give parents control over the information collected from their children online. In a nutshell COPPA requires website operators to:
- Get parental consent before collecting private information about their children
- Provide parents access to the information collected on their children and allow them to withdraw permission on future collection of their children’s information
- Maintain the confidentiality of the information collected
- Minimize the retention period for children information for as long as is necessary, and delete the data responsibly
COPPA prohibits website operators from knowingly collecting “personally identifiable information” from children under 13 without parental consent. “Personally Identifiable Information” means any information that could identify your child, including their name, address, birth date, email address, telephone number, social security number, geolocation information, screen names, user names, photographs, and videos. COPPA applies to operators of websites directed at children under the age of 13 that collect personal information, and operators of websites with a general audience that knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of 13.
How to Keep Kids Safe Online (greatschools)
The Federal Trade Commission, the government agency that enforces the law, offers tips to parents about how to protect their children’s privacy online. Additionally, kidSAFE provides a quick one-pager on COPPA. More detailed information is available through the Center for Digital Democracy their COPPA parent guide, “The New Children’s Online Privacy Rules: What Parents Need to Know.” Moms with Apps has also provided a nice breakdown of 5 Things Moms Need to Know about Apps.
StaySafeOnline provides a number of key resources to help parents teach their children about good digital citizenship.