Most parents today have been made aware of COPPA, Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. This Act protects the privacy of children when they are online. Websites and Apps have to get parental consent prior to collecting personal information from children under 13. When the law first went into effect it covered basic information but recent changes were made so that it also covers photos, geolocations and audio recordings. It has also been expanded to cover mobile apps which is a growing trend with children. It’s important for parents to understand what these new changes mean to them and how they protect their children’s privacy.
4 Questions Parents Might Ask
Parents are likely to have lots of questions about the changes to COPPA, but the four most frequently asked questions typically include:
- What types of information are presently protected?
- How will parents know their child’s information is being collected?
- What types of services are covered under COPPA?
- What services are not covered under COPPA?
What information is covered under COPPA?
Previously, COPPA covered basic information about a child including:
- Child’s full name
- Mailing address
- Email address
- Phone number(s)
- Social Security Number
- Hobbies (identifiable information)
More recently, COPPA was expanded to include geo locations since navigation apps are able to pinpoint a child’s exact location. Sites must get a parent’s permission before collecting photos, screen names, audio recordings, IP address, videos, location data, and identifying numbers that are associated with each unique electronic device.
How are parents made aware?
The latest changes state that services which are directed at children have to pursue parental permission prior to collecting any information from or about a child. They must explain precisely how the information will be collected and what will be done with it.
What types of services are covered under COPPA?
More than just websites can collect children’s personal information. There are mobile apps, gaming platforms, social networks and VOI services. However, only if these services are geared to an audience under 13 do they have to comply.
What types of services are not covered under COPPA?
Some of the most popular sites online today are not covered under COPPA. That’s right, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are not covered simply because they are not designed for or geared toward the under 13 crowd. The rules which require parental approval are only applicable for sites and services which are trying to reach children under 13.