Protecting A Child
’s Privacy Essay, Research Paper
Protecting A Child?s Privacy
When children go online they have entered a massive store full of information, products and services. Children are anxious consumers, and represent a huge and concentrated portion of the marketplace. According to Children in Cyber Space: A Privacy Resource Guide, the Internet provides children with a chance to enjoy daring games, visit lands over seas, and communicate with individuals their own age, but portions of the Cyber World can be toxic to children. (Children in Cyberspace: A Privacy Resource Guide for Parents) Marketers want to learn as much about your buying practices as you are willing to confess. Innocent children jeopardize their privacy when they provide marketing websites with personal information. Regulating the Internet through guidelines for marketers and personal regulations, represents apparent solutions for the privacy of children. When surfing the Internet, children often give out personal and family information without a second thought, therefore, providing a large percentage of marketers with the data they need. Until recently, there seemed to be no way to keep your children?s private life from being invaded. The World Wide Web makes it easy to gather information without parents having any knowledge of the transaction.
Computers with Internet access allow children to interact with the world. A major issues parents need to consider when their children go online involves privacy. Many children may not consider privacy an important issue. Providing information to someone they cannot see or hear appears to be harmless. Many companies develop detailed records based on the personal information they collect from children. According to FTC?s New Rule on Children?s Privacy Online, during a survey taken in 1998, approximately 9/10 of the children?s websites questioned, accumulated
personal information from children. In the same survey, only one out of every one-hundred sites asked for parental consent. In response to these findings the FTC asked Congress to safeguard children?s privacy online. (FTC?s New Rule on Children?s Privacy Online) COPPA represents a major step towards defending children?s privacy rights online. Currently, numerous companies are exceeding the qualifications for COPPA. This makes their sites more enticing to parents, which in turn, attracts the advertisers as well. Furthermore, the websites must notify parents, and give them updates on how the data they have collected will be used. For this reason, COPPA will compel parents to be more alert whenever their children participate in hazardous activities online.
One of the main issues on everyone?s mind: How will websites access verifiable parental consent? Any attempt by a website to ensure that children have parental guidance or permission, will fall under the COPPA regulations. These regulations will allow websites to vary their methods of consent, based on the intent for the use of the information. Children, whom the law is supposed to protect, will find a way around the regulations. Large online companies can afford to comply with the regulations of COPPA. Smaller companies will not be able to comply. With this in mind, the small business sector may not be able to meet these requirements. These smaller online businesses probably don?t have the budget or staff available to reach the goals of COPPA. This, in itself, may cause many small web companies to go bankrupt. A lot of individuals will say there cannot be a proper or effective way
to determine a persons age on the Internet. All web users must divulge private information to participate on the websites. Individuals that don?t have children, or don?t care about the activities of their children while online, may have the opinion that laws don?t prevent children from behaving irresponsibly. Only responsible parents and supervision can properly encourage children?s behavior. There is just no way a parent can follow a child around everywhere they go, so parents need a backboard to assist with the process of protecting their child?s privacy. COPPA will provide that needed safety net. When children learn to behave logically and responsibly, maybe these guidelines will not be necessary.
Enormous amounts of children are visiting the World Wide Web on a daily basis. The number of children visiting websites increases more and more everyday. Providing safeguards will relinquish a parents fear of their children?s privacy being invaded online. With this in mind, the FTC has a contract, more or less, with the Internet community to protect the privacy of children and their families. The main goal consists of establishing values. The objective involves maintaining these values. The fundamental issue seems to be that the Internet is a global system that has no respect for national borders. The world we live in, with the assistance from the Internet, has an open channel for free flowing information. That being so, the World Wide Web makes it easy to gather information without parents having any knowledge of the transaction.
?Children in Cyberspace: A Privacy Resource Guide for Parents.? Fact Sheet No.
21: Children in Cyberspace May 1998. 10 Sept. 2000 .
?FTC?s New Rule on Children?s Privacy Online.? US Federal Trade Commission
21 April 2000. 12 Sept. 2000 .