Kids online will now be protected by new federal guidelines
Children's personal information, such as photos, videos and geolocation information, can now no longer be collected by online services and online 'cookies' can't be used to send kids personalized ads, among other new rules.
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The former aggravates the latter. Until governments stop trying to apply regulation to the conditions of the former (mass) media environment, in which professionally produced media was published or broadcast to people who merely consumed it, they will not fully protect “consumers,” who are now producers and participants every bit as much as consumers and whose media is the content of their lives.Skip to next paragraph
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Under these conditions, self-regulation (personal as well as corporate) becomes as essential to “consumer” protection as the government kind, and regulatory power is increasingly distributed and shared among users, media companies, and government (see this in my post about the unintended consequences of COPPA last summer).
Regulation in today’s media environment is necessarily a collaboration, and effective consumer protection under these new conditions requires a lot more consumer education not only about the importance of self-regulation but also about not having a false sense of security about regulation!
Obtaining your consent
The new COPPA Rule will also change the ways you can give your consent to children’s sites and services. New methods include “electronic scans of signed parental consent forms; video-conferencing [sounds like you could have a Skype chat with a kids' Web site or app company]; use of government-issued identification [a scan of your driver's license, perhaps]; and alternative payment systems, such as debit cards and electronic payment systems, provided they meet certain criteria,” according to the FTC.
How do you feel about giving consent in these ways?
The new rule goes into effect next July 1, CNN reports.
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- A study released late November from New York University found that COPPA has likely increased minors’ risk online – see this.
- A study released last year about how, despite COPPA, a large proportion of US parents of children under 13 help their kids set up accounts in social network sites
- ConnectSafely.org submitted a comment to the FTC about the proposed revisions this past September.
- In 2010, a task force I co-chaired sent Congress our report “Youth Safety on a Living Internet” – here’s a post about why we chose that title.
- A year before that, my ConnectSafely.org co-director and I published a document entitled “Online Safety 3.0: Empowering and Protecting Youth,” explaining why youth agency (and not treating youth or adult users only as potential victims) is essential to their protection.
Anne Collier is editor of NetFamilyNews.org, a blog, RSS feed, and e-mail newsletter that focuses on "kid-tech news for parents.”
The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best family and parenting bloggers out there. Our contributing and guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor, and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs.