Child Privacy Online: Should Children Use Your Website?

child privacy onlineWith new privacy laws and regulations, it’s time to review your website’s legal documents to make sure you’re protecting yourself from lawsuits and government investigations. Child privacy online is one of those issues you need to address.

By now, you may have heard about the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)…and maybe know a little about the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018. But they focus on consumers in general, not minors.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

For now, in the United States, the primary law you should know about it is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and related children’s privacy rule enforced by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

COPPA is designed to specifically protect minors under the age of 13 years. If your website is directly or indirectly targeting children this young, you should jump through all of the COPPA hoops to shield your business.

Website Privacy For Minors Over 12 Years Old

And if your website targets minors 13 to 17 years of age, you’ll still want to put in place privacy protections for these children that aren’t necessary for adult visitors.

For example, you may want to make it clear these teenagers can only use your site under the supervision of a parent or legal guardian. Or simply ban all minors under 18 from using your site.

What If Your Site Isn’t Intended For Children?

If your website doesn’t target minors, perhaps the easiest way to protect child privacy online is to make it clear in your site’s privacy policy and elsewhere that those under the age of 18 years shouldn’t use your site at all. And put safeguards into place to ensure you’re not collecting data from minors.

A good website lawyer can prepare a custom online privacy policy and other website legal documents designed to minimize your risks related to minors using your site. Of course, you’ve also got to follow your policy. It doesn’t help to say one thing about child privacy online in your website’s privacy statement and then do something else when it comes to collecting, protecting, and sharing minors’ data.

Do you need help with your site’s legal documents? You’ll want to set up a phone consultation with Attorney Young today.

Author Mike Young, Esq.

To get legal help from Attorney Mike Young, call 214-546-4247 or click here now to schedule a phone consultation.

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