Despite being around for some time now, the Internet has not developed a parent friendly standard of rating content the way movies (G, PG, PG-13) or television (TV Y, TV G, TV 14) or video games (E, T, M, A) or even music (Parental Advisory Notice) offers. How, then, do you determine if a site is appropriate for your child?
Until the Internet adopts a comprehensive system that parents can rely on, the best way for you to determine if you are comfortable allowing your child to visit a site is to visit the site yourself and take a look around. Here are some helpful tips:
You may notice, as you review some of the Terms of Service pages, that many sites that kids typically frequent often provide language within their Terms of Service stating that a user “must be at least 13 years of age.” This can be misleading to parents as it insinuates that the content on the site is not appropriate for anyone under 13. In actuality, the mention of age in these instances is based more on Federal Regulations and less on the nature of the content within the site. Essentially, 13 is the age in which a minor can create an account or sign up with a website without the involvement of a parent. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) requires websites to get parental consent before collecting or sharing information from children who are under 13 years old.
Now that you are familiar with COPPA, take advantage of it! Your child’s personal information is valuable and you can do even more to protect it. Visit OnGuardOnline to get great information on options for maximizing COPPA’s protections.
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