Local News

New Law Provides More Internet Protection For Children

Posted April 20, 2000

— There is now more protection online for children. A new law requires them to get permission from parents before putting personal information on the Web.

The federal law, called theChildren's Online Privacy Protection Act, was finalized last year. The aim of the law is to keep children's e-mail addresses, school locations and other personal details out of the hands of marketers and molesters.

TheFederal Trade Commissionhas a newWeb sitethat spells out what the law does and how it works. There are sections for kids and parents that they should go over to determine what is OK and what is not OK.

Children are on computers more often these days, studying and having fun. The FTC found a couple of years ago that children often posted personal information on sites without getting parents' approval, which can lead to marketing ploys aimed at youngsters or even cyberstalking.

Major sites such atYahooandAmerican Online, favorites of children, have already begun more stringent policies.

AOL no longer allows children under 13 to create profiles listing personal information.

Under the new law, parents must give approval by e-mail, a free phone call, letter or fax to sites requesting personal information from children.

Parents should check privacy policies of any Web site used by their children.Yahooligansspells out for youngsters what it does with personal information.

Kids' Space, a popular nonprofit children's site, is not bound by the new law, but abides by it anyway. AtHeadbone.com, children have to enter their parent's e-mail address to get onto the site.

The FTC will regularly check hundreds of sites to ensure the law is followed. Sites that violate the law face stiff fines.

Parents should be warned that some sites do not adhere to the new law, particularly those with hosts out of the country.

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