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IPB's Current COPPA Setup Might Cause Problems for Site Owners


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I think IPS might want to fix up their current COPPA system as it leaves site owners open to litigation. It would also be nice to be able to enter your own message into the COPPA field if you wanted to filter and add your own message instead of the COPPA form.

This is getting stupid, what ever happened to parent being responsible for their own children? Shouldn't the parents be the ones who get into trouble when their kids lie and join a site? This world is upside down.

For any forum owner who has a site that may be considered in any way directed at children, even if it's not, the current COPPA verification setup can leave the site owner vulnerable.

From the FTC Website: http://www.ftc.gov/p.../coppafaqs.shtm

39. Can I block children under 13 from my general audience website?

Blocking children under 13 from participating in a general audience, or teen-directed, website does not violate COPPA. However, as described in Question 38, above, should you choose to block children under 13, it is important that you design your age collection input screens in a manner that does not encourage children to provide a false age in order to gain access to your site. If you take reasonable measures to screen for age, then you are not responsible if a child misstates his or her age. For example:

  • Ask age information in a neutral manner at the point where you invite visitors to provide personal information or to create their log-in user ID. In designing a neutral age-screening mechanism, you might consider:
    • Making sure the data entry point allows users to enter their age accurately. An example of a neutral age-screen would be a system that allows a user to freely enter month, day, and year of birth. A site that includes a drop-down menu that only permits users to enter birth years making them 13 or older, would not be considered a neutral age-screening mechanism since children cannot enter their correct age on that site.
    • Not encouraging children to falsify their age information, for example, by stating that visitors under 13 cannot participate on your website or should ask their parents before participating. In addition, a site that does not ask for neutral date of birth information but rather simply includes a check box stating “I am over 12 years old” would not be considered a neutral age-screening mechanism.

  • In addition, we recommend using a temporary or a permanent cookie to prevent children from back-buttoning to enter a different age.

Note, however, that if you ask participants to enter age information, and then you fail to either screen out or obtain parental consent from those participants who indicate that they are under 13, you may be liable for violating COPPA and the Rule.
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I just straight out state on the registration agreement that people under the age of 13 are not permitted to register. If I child wants to lie about his age, not my problem. I'm pretty sure that lying about your age to gain access to a forum comes under fraud, a big no no.

So If someone should say sue me or something, I can whip out the 'your kid lied on the registration form... bla bla bla fraud i'mma gunna sue you 'yeah that's what I'm gonna do' ... blab out some lyrics and unless you want me to stalk your child to find out his real age I suggest you surrender."

%7Boption%7D

But I'm no lawyer.

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I remember researching this a bit when our designer wanted to change the approach we took and couldn't find anything in the law itself. Figures this would be hidden at question 39 in an FAQ. :rolleyes:

I've logged a bug report - we'll look at changing the method back for an upcoming update. Thanks for pointing it out.

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This is getting stupid, what ever happened to parent being responsible for their own children? Shouldn't the parents be the ones who get into trouble when their kids lie and join a site? This world is upside down.




THIS is a big plus 1 from me.
just easier to blame others I guess.
while this does not affect me yet I thank you for pointing it out.
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  • 1 year later...

Note, however, that if you ask participants to enter age information, and then you fail to either screen out or obtain parental consent from those participants who indicate that they are under 13, you may be liable for violating COPPA and the Rule.

Did this ever get addressed? Even if its not required by law, it still leaves IPS owners vulnerable.

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This topic is from 2011 and I'm all but positive it has since been addressed.

I can't find a way to limit registrations based on age. That's what needs to be addressed. If it's been fixed, can you point me in the right direction, please?

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You can't generically limit registrations based on age. If you enable the COPPA system and a user indicates that they are 13 (after entering their birthday into the registration form), they will be blocked from completing their registration and presented with a page explaining how their parents can send their COPPA permission form in.

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