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Online Privacy for Minors: COPPA and Your Child

If you are the parent of a young child under 13, you’re likely very protective over their safety in all aspects. However, the Internet creates a whole new host of safety and privacy issues for your child. There are regulations in place, though, to protect your child’s privacy if they are under 13. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is a law passed in 1998 and enacted in 2000 that is put in place to protect young minors online. 

What is COPPA?

COPPA requires that websites ask for parental consent before they collect any data from minor users. Additionally, the Act stipulates what must be included in a privacy policy, and where that policy must be posted online. It also spells out when and how to get consent from parents in any situation where consent is needed, and it dictates the website owner’s responsibility when it comes to a child under 13’s safety. This Act was primarily passed in reaction to the realization that many children did not understand the weight of sharing personal data online. COPPA is the reasoning behind many websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, stipulating that users be at least 13 years old to sign up.

What is COPA and How is it Different From COPPA?

COPPA is quite different from other online children’s security acts, COPA. COPA stands for the Child Online Protection Act, and it protects children from obtaining or being exposed to online pornography. However, COPA was ruled unconstitutional.

How Can I Keep My Child Safe Online?

If you’re concerned about your child’s safety while they are online, there are a few things you can do. First, make sure you have a clear, open, and honest conversation with your child about Internet safety and what is and is not okay to share online. Second, be sure they know that you’re a safe person to come to if they want to talk about anything they see online. Third, there are many options in online browsers to set up safe searches and to block certain websites from being accessed.