Online Privacy

People all over the world — including children — now exchange electronic mail (e-mail) and instant messages (IM).They participate in chat rooms, post and read messages in social networking sites, take courses online, and write, read, and interact with blogs (web logs).

According to the National Center for Education Statistics 90% of school-age children have access to computers either at home or at school.. The internet provides kids access to incredibly rich resources including academic help and subject-matter experts, opportunites to communicate with other kids around the world and learn about their cultures, as well as challenging gaming in multi-user environments. Along with this universal access comes potential risks. As parents, you can help reduce these risks by talking about making safe, responsible decisions, ensuring your kids grow to be informed digital citizens.

Online Privacy Protections

As a parent you can..

COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act gives parents control over what personal information websites can collect from their kids. Personal information includes your child’s full name, address, email address, or cell phone number. The act requires commerical websites and online services that are directed at kids to comply with COPPA requirements, including:

  • a detailed privacy policy on the site that describes what information is collected from usersand what that company will do with it.
  • contact information for the site manager.
  • verifiable parental consent to collect personal informatio from a child under the age of 13
  • disclosure to parents of any information collected about their children on the website
  • a general requirement to keep personal information confidential, secure, and maintain theintegrity of any information collected online from children
  • the right to revoke consent and have information deleted


For a closer look at online privacy protections

View the FTC Regulations for businesses on how to comply with COPPA
You, Your Privacy Policy and COPPA

FTC Facts for Consumers – Protecting Kids’ Privacy

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse – Children’s Online Privacy:
A Resource Guide for Parents

OnGuard - Kids’ Privacy


Check out sites your kids visit – Does the site appear to be following the most basic COPPA requirements, like clearly posting its privacy policy for parents and asking for parental consent before kids can participate?

Review your child’s friends list- you may want to limit your children’s online “friends” to people they actually know.

Know what your kids are sharingGet to know the social networking sites your kids use so you understand their activities. You may want to search the social sites they use to see what information they’re posting. Talk to your kids about the importance of using Privacy settings, and your expectations for who should be allowed to view their profile.

Take a look at the sites’s privacy policy- just because a site has a privacy policy doesn’t mean it keeps personal information private. If the policy says there are no limits to what it collects or who gets to see it, there are no limits.

Ask for more information – sites complying with COPPA are required to include contact information

Be selective with your permission – You might be able to give the company permission to collect some personal information from your child, but say no to having that information passed along to another marketer.

Know your rights – As a parent, you have the right to have a site delete any personal information it has about your child. You also have a right to take back your consent and have any information collected from your child deleted.

Report a website – if you think a site has violated the law, report it to the FTC at or 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Here’s a video, How to File a Complaint,

Leave a Reply