In October 1998 the government created the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and on April 21, 2000 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) put into effect the COPPA Rule, which protects children under 13 while they are online. It requires your parents' permission for any website to collect information on you. It also allows some teachers to act in place of a parent.
A few key points for you to remember when you go online:
- Never give out your family name, your home address or your phone number in chat rooms, on bulletin boards, or to online pen-pals.
- Don't tell your friends your user ID, your screen names, or your password. Not even your best friend.
- Set up rules with your parents about your computer and the websites you are allowed to visit.
- Surf the internet with your parents and teach them about the internet, how much you can learn and how to have fun online. If your parents aren't available, talk to them about the websites you visit.
- Both you and websites you visit must get permission from your parents to get a lot of information about you.
- Your parents have the right to see what information a website has on you, and your parents may ask them to delete any information they don't want the website to have.
- Many activities online don't need any of your information for you to participate. If they do, they should only need the least amount of information for you to participate.
- If any site or messages you receive are mean or makes you uncomfortable tell your parents right away.
- Never agree to get together with anyone you meet online without your parents' permission. If you do, bring a parent along.
- Don't send information or pictures to anyone without your parents' permission.
- And finally, be a good online citizen and don't do anything that will hurt others or is against the law.