FTC Consent Decree Reinforces Need for Websites Aimed at Kids to Comply with COPPA

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If your station engages in children's programming and maintains a website or web page directed to children under the age of 13, this case may be of interest to you.

The operator of a website called Skid-e-Kids, a self-described “Facebook and MySpace for kids,” has learned that it is not enough merely to have a privacy policy that requires parental consent prior to obtaining personal information online from children under the age of 13. Such website operators must actually abide by that policy as well. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reinforced that lesson via an enforcement action and settlement with the company this week.

Skid-e-Kids (skidekids.com) advertises itself as “Safe, Fun and very educational.” Their target group is children ages 7-14. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) and corresponding FTC rule require parental consent before children under the age of 13 can be requested or required to provide personal information online.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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