COPPA Advice for New Web Community

Does anyone here have much knowledge about the necessary steps you have to take to comply with COPPA, if your community isn’t targeting children? Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A community I’m developing is for designers and artists. Is it legally acceptable to say in the terms and conditions that you have to be over 13 to join? Or do I have to take the extra step of collecting their birthday and then telling them they aren’t eligible if they are too young?

I’m mainly trying to get my sign-up form as short and painless as possible. So if I can skip collecting birthdays for legal reasons, then I’d happily take that out of the process.


Simply ask them to confirm that they are over 13.

Collecting their birthday when you don’t need it may breach privacy laws.

Hey thanks felgall, that’s so simple I completely overlooked it :slight_smile:

So do you think it’s important to make that a separate checkbox? Would simply stating that “you must be over 13” in the TOS not be enough?

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) (1998) – Creates strong guidelines for the online collection of personal information from children under 13 years of age. Unless you are purposely looking for children you do not want to get envolved with the onerous requirements of the Act.

The FTC takes COPPA seriously and the Girl Scouts and Disney have both paid huge fines for violations.

I strongly recommend to my clients that they make sure they exclude children under 13 from joining their sites in both their privacy policies and their TOS.

Finally, I strongly recommend to my clients that they use a “click wrap” and not a “browser wrap” for their TOS.

(browser wrap = “by using this site you agree to the terms.” Click wrap = “by checking the I agree button you agree to the TOS.”)

I wouldn’t just state it in the TOS as most people don’t bother reading that even though they click the checkbox agreeing to it.

A clear statement on the signup page itself would make it obvious to everyone that those who have signed up have specifically indicated that they are over 13.

You want to go beyond whatever the law may require and make it obvious to everyone that anyone who signs up is declaring that they are over 13.

You could combine the two with the one checkbox using the text “I confirm that I am over 13 and agree to abide by the TOS”.

Thanks guys! That helps a lot