If you’re like me, you want your children, or in my case grandchildren, to use the Internet, become familiar with it’s benefits, and thereby better compete in the cyber-future world in which they’ll be living. So we monitor, as best we can, what sites they visit and preach Internet safety to them in hope that they won’t be exposed to its ugly underbelly.
That said, I recently came across a New York Times article reporting a potential violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which “requires Website operators to obtain verifiable consent from parents before collecting personal information about children under age 13. But, in complaints to the F.T.C., the coalition says six popular Web sites aimed at children have violated that law by encouraging children who play brand-related games or engage in other activities to provide friends’ e-mail addresses — without seeking prior parental consent.”
The children are being asked to send in photographs of themselves, play brand-related games, sending in their email addresses, and referring friends to the websites. All without prior parental consent; and all allegedly in violation of the law (COPPA).
The article states: “The sites cited by the advocacy groups include McDonald’s HappyMeal.com; Nick.com, the Nickelodeon site owned by Viacom; General Mills’ ReesesPuffs.com; SubwayKids.com; another General Mills site, TrixWorld.com; and Turner’s CartoonNetwork.com.” Not to be dropping names or anything, but these are some big companies! Big companies who are allegedly breaking the law that protects our kids!
Keep an eye on what your youngsters are doing on the Internet by placing the computer they use to access the Internet in a room other than their bedroom. A good location would be a family room where other members of the family, including you, spend time and can observe their activity. See Protecting Our Kids On The Internet and Protecting Our Kids On The Internet: Using Parental Controls on this blog for more information and tips.
Reference: New York Times article
As always, I appreciate your comments on this subject…so please do. And be careful out there…it’s extremely dangerous these days.
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Home computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.