COPPA stands for: The Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act. In essence, COPPA is a United States law stipulating what websites or online services need to do to comply with specific regulations for protecting children. 

Any websites or online services targeting their services to children 13 years or under must comply with specific COPPA regulations. These regulations protect the personal data of children. 

COPPA Regulations

The principal COPPA regulations include the following: 

  • Services directed to children must collect and use data online from a child with consent from their parent or legal guardian. There also must be a verifiable process for collecting this personal data.
  • The website or service needs a privacy policy that includes the COPPA policy anywhere data gets collected.
  • A specific process of how the website can seek verification from the consenting adult and when.
  • The responsibilities the website’s operator legally has in complying with COPPA, including particular restrictions in directing their services to children. 

What Sites or Services Must Comply With COPPA?

Every website or online service that obtains personal data online from a child 13 years or under must comply with COPPA. This United States law also includes all social media platforms.

COPPA doesn’t have explicit guidelines for obtaining parental consent for a website or service. However, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has some guidelines that make complying with COPPA more accessible: 

  • Consent forms are either clearly displayed or easily downloadable and can be sent as physical mail, an email address, or a fax.
  • Prominently showcase the site’s privacy policy, including its practices for collecting personal data.
  • The good or service must explicitly provide the parents with a notice about collecting their child’s personal information.
  • The website or online service needs proper protocols for protecting a child’s privacy and data.
  • Must retain personal data only if necessary to achieve the original objectives used for collecting said personal data.
  • A parent or legal guardian must utilize a credit card to authenticate their age and identity.
  • Allows a child’s parents to review their child’s data at any time—parents may also delete their child’s data but still can’t alter it. 

When Was COPPA Established?

Knowing the history is essential for understanding what is COPPA. 

Congress passed COPPA in response to the explosion of online marketing campaigns launched in the 1990s aimed at children. During this time, many websites began collecting the personal data of children without their parents’ consent. 

The Center for Media Education conducted research showcasing that many children didn’t comprehend the potential risks of revealing their personal information to online websites and services. 

While COPPA isn’t always foolproof, the law significantly helps in protecting children. There’s a $43,280 fine for each COPPA violation (per child). Even major social media platforms and sites like YouTube, TikTok, Google, and more have paid millions in COPPA violations. 

Complying With COPPA

Knowing whether or not you need to comply with COPPA can be tricky. A good rule of thumb, however, is to ask if your business meets one or more of the following conditions: 

  • You run a website or service directed to children 13 years or younger
  • You run an ad plug-in or network, and you know that you’re collecting data from children
  • Even if your website or service aims at a general audience, you have knowledge that you’re collecting personal information from children 13 or younger 

Let National Sweepstakes Company Help

When running a small online business or service, paying a massive COPPA fine can significantly hamper progress. To make sure you’re complying with COPPA, our team at National Sweepstakes Company can help. Call us today at 888-744-3217!

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