Statement of Family Online Safety Institute on Do Not Track Kids Act of 2013

November 13, 2013

“The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) appreciates the interest of Sen. Markey, Senator Kirk, Rep. Barton, and Rep. Rush in keeping kids safe online. It is important to have high-level attention and leadership focused on online safety, but FOSI does have some concerns about the Do Not Track Kids Act of 2013.

The FTC recently spent years revising the COPPA Rule to ensure that the 1998 law was updated and continues to apply to modern technology and trends. The new rules just went into effect on July 1st and many sites and app developers are struggling to understand and comply with the changes.

At the same time, many of these provisions for kids or children under 13 have already been enacted by the new rule. During the review, the FTC examined increasing the age of COPPA and declined to raise the provisions above the age of 13. This new legislation has the potential to further complicate COPPA compliance efforts and there is a strong possibility that this will lead to less content online for teens and the collection of more information about them.

Research from FOSI and others illustrates that teens are thinking about privacy and taking steps to keep their personal information private online. We don't want to teach teens to post first and then delete later. Instead, we want to focus on educating teens to think before they post and encourage them to use the many privacy tools, including delete buttons that already exist.

When it comes to online safety, it is important that we educate and not just legislate.”