View Full Version : New Internet Child Protection Act
I've been reading about a new law that's about to go into effect requiring parental permission for children under 13 years of age to use a site. I know the UBB is working on an upgrade that will take care of this at registration.[nbsp][nbsp]I wondered what people knew about the act, and what steps you all were taking to comply with it?
I have a UBB with a section specifically devoted to young ballet dancers.[nbsp][nbsp]We do have several children between 10 and 13.[nbsp][nbsp]The site is monitored by a teacher, and everybody on the board keeps an eye out for Nasty Posters (we have had a few.[nbsp][nbsp]"Hi, I want to meet ballerinas.[nbsp][nbsp]Email me") who are deleted and banned within a few hours, but we want to be sure we comply.
Any suggestions, ideas?
Personally, I am happy these child protection act thingies are finally going full speed... even though it really cram a huge headache for webmasters. There are just some sites out there who aren't as diligent in keeping places -like let's say message boards for young ballet dancers- clean. In fact, I have seen a place or two who just don't care. (:()
I really can't help you there. But just wanted to voice my semi-annoying opinion. :)
I'm all for child protection.[nbsp][nbsp]I don't think I've ever been sicker the night I discovered Nasty Poster, a guy who (I hope) went out Saturday night, got drunk, found our board, and decided to attack everyone who had ever done him wrong, in the most colorful language. Each post got bolder and more foul -- luckily, they were only up for a half-hour; four of my posters saw it and emailed me the same time I saw them and they could be deleted. But it was a real scare.
The same for the privacy information.[nbsp][nbsp]First, you have the sites who are actively seeking kids and information from kids.[nbsp][nbsp]Secondly, you have sites like mine who "collect" (really incidentally) information such as name and email address that some could use in a nasty way.
The problem is with the act, it doesn't protect the child. It just blocks the honest child from accessing a site like mine -- or even aota.net's board, for that matter -- OR encourages him/her to lie and say, "Yes, I'm over 13."[nbsp][nbsp]End of problem.
So this act doesn't solve the problem. I don't know that it can be solved, but this doesn't.
I'm concerned because I, too, run a UBB message board. It's the centrla part of our site.[nbsp][nbsp]We don't have very many under-13s, about ten (out of 850 posters) and, frrankly, some of them are a bit annoying. But three are adorable, and quite mature for their age, and ask wonderful questions and I hate to have them, and future Thems, confronted with this "Hi, if you were born on or before this date, click here," etc.[nbsp][nbsp]AND then not be able to post until they can rope a parent into finding the site, printing out the permission form and mailing it in.
I don't know if there's a better way.[nbsp][nbsp]My concern at the moment is if anyone has been following this and knows what the government considers a commercial site -- not that the larger issues can't be discussed, of course.
03-30-2000, 06:50 PM
I know UBB is coming out with something that will address this, but here is what I am doing in the meantime.[nbsp][nbsp]While my site is not for children, many of us are women who are often alone, while our husbands are underway. The "safety" thing is present in lots of our minds (And we have many male spouses in our group of course, but somehow the vulnerability factor *feels* a little different.)
1) I require unique email addy to register, and my forums require registration to post.
2) I hacked the UBB "welcome to our board, here's your password" file so that new registrations come to me, not directly to the users.[nbsp][nbsp]Then I can check for strangeness in the registration, and forward it onto the user.
3) I have very well trained moderators . . . most are stay at home mom types who can check frequently throughout the day.[nbsp][nbsp]Furthermore, my userbase is very loyal and are quick to report any posted weirdness.[nbsp][nbsp]I realize not everyone will have access to a volunteer base like this, but it's something to consider as a site grows.
4) Freemails and proxys are on my ban list - give me a real ISP email address, or find someplace else to hang out.[nbsp][nbsp]AOL remains a huge headache for me - it's so convenient for military families who move frequently, yet it is also convenient for Problem Users to just grab another user name and sign on again - plus the IP addy isn't static.[nbsp][nbsp]Nonetheless, I log IP's because I feel it adds to an atomosphere of accountability.
5) I've added "I agree that I am over 18" type language to my Registration page and our Site Policies.[nbsp][nbsp]While we prohibit explicitly sexual, hateful, etc. type posts, we are also intended for an adult audience and of course we occasionally have mature conversations.
6) My site policies are linked from every single webpage, and it says "Viewing and Use of this website implies acceptance of our Site Mission and Policies" (hyperlinked).
7) ...and I've always got my eyes peeled for other measures I can take.
Could someone point me towards a site with current info about the "new" act? I haven't been able to find anything regarding parental permission, even on the ACLU site.
I do most of the things Mandi does with her forum, though the SAO forum allows minors in the public areas (we have a semi-secret area set-up for adults... ssssh, don't tell the kids or they'll start faking their ages :) ). Mostly I rely on my crack staff of Moderators to keep an eye on the forum, I've also posted a parental advisory and use RSACi and SafeSurf tags. However, I would like to keep up with any new laws that may affect participation in the forum. TIA.
--Tom aka DiamondBack
05-04-2000, 02:43 AM
Don't know if you're still interested in this, but here's the website: http://www.ftc.gov/kidsprivacy
I kept meaning to post it...sorry it took this long ;) .
05-04-2000, 05:20 AM
Gosh, I've seen and done all and as soon as I streamline the code, get my act together and sees if FQ nods at my forum I will get the COPPA enacted.
Being 21 and still feeling (and of course acting) like a child, I hate to see young girls and boys subjected to dirty online talk.[nbsp][nbsp]And though it IS a pain I do hope it helps regulation of 13 year old and under children...[nbsp][nbsp]I sincerely don't want to receive nasty e-mails from any angry parent.
05-04-2000, 07:39 AM
I have mixed feelings on this issue. I feel it is a good effort, but is being handled incorrectly. Correct me if I am wrong but the whole point of this is to keep children’s information off the net. But how do we do that, we must ask them for their information including address etc from their parents! Excuse me but that seems to defeat the whole point. Now you have the problem of sites that are not on the up and up and create a site just to get this info so they can use it for whatever reason etc.
My solution is simple, create some type of code we could put on our pages that might require any information from youths. Then if parents do not want their child to divulge this information they can install a program much like net nanny that will see this code, and tell the youth they cannot access the page until their parent “turns access on to the page.”
This solution would make things quite simple and would be a better solution then the current stopgap on in place. Anyhow I am off to the patent office to patent my idea :)
05-04-2000, 09:39 AM
I haven't been following this "act" too closely, but what I have heard has been difficult to find any consistency in...[nbsp][nbsp]From the site Joi posted:
If you operate a commercial Web site or an online service directed to children under 13 that collects personal information from children or if you operate a general audience Web site and have actual knowledge that it collects personal information from children, you must comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act Am I correct in understanding that a site is not required to make any special accomodations if it:
a) is not directed at children under 13, and
b) has no knowledge of the age of its general audience, unless they choose to provide it on their own?
That's the way I read it, but you never can tell with legalese...
05-05-2000, 12:34 AM
From what I understand, if you have a website that's directed toward children OR if you knowingly collect information from children under age 13, you must post a privacy notice on your website that explains exactly what you're doing with the information from children.
To determine whether a Web site is directed to children, the FTC will consider several factors, including the subject matter; visual or audio content; the age of models on the site; language; whether advertising on the Web site is directed to children; information regarding the age of the actual or intended audience; and whether a site uses animated[nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp] characters or other child-oriented features.
If the operator discloses the information to others, the situation presents greater dangers to children, and a more reliable method of consent is required. To determine whether an entity is an "operator" with respect to information collected at a site, the FTC will consider who owns and controls the information; who pays for the[nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp][nbsp]collection and maintenance of the information; what the pre-existing contractual relationships are in connection with the information; and what role the Web site plays in collecting or maintaining the information.
Brian, your idea sounds very interesting, but the whole idea is not to restrict a child's access to a website, but to restrict access on getting personal information from a child under 13 without a parent's consent.[nbsp][nbsp]
[This message has been edited by MTDesigns (edited 05-04-00@1:07 pm)]
05-05-2000, 11:54 AM
This law can really be read in different[nbsp][nbsp]ways. I was really surprised UBB picked the "If you are older then X" way. I felt that the COPPA was written to require better proof. I kicked off all my 13 and under members. (and quickly received a lot of colorful email. Where do they learn this stuff? I blame TV :) )[nbsp][nbsp]
Now, when they click the "I was born after" link and find they are banned, what's there next reaction? Press back and click the "I was bore before" link. Bang!!! they are in. So what's the point?
Thanks for the link, Joi.[nbsp][nbsp]I found out about it earlier this week when ICQ started sending messages out to everyone who indicated they were under 13 in their profiles. A lot of people thought it was another rumor and started asking about it, had to tell them is was true this time.
My personal website doesn't collect much info, just a e-mail addys for the mailing list and I've had a privacy statement in place for months.[nbsp][nbsp]With my other site we collect membership info, though it never goes beyond our membership committee. Unofficially we have always turned down apps from members under 13, now we'll have to make that the "officially" posted age limit. The catch is that by stating that their is an age limit, under-13 members will be tempted to add a few years to their age, so we may end-up accepting kids that would have tipped us off in the past. C'est la vie.
--Tom aka DiamondBack
05-06-2000, 12:50 AM
Our job is to comply, not inforce.
What I meant about my idea was to put that "code" on areas that might ask for this information.
05-06-2000, 01:03 AM
You're very welcome Tom!
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