UPDATE: Understanding all sides of U13 communities
There are 2 main areas that I often see glazed over when designing communities that may be used by (or attract) people under 13 years old (U13), specifically in the US:Legal Concerns
- COPPA legislation is about access to private info for a specific population (U13’s). It is not about the content on your site (unless of course that content is the personal info of U13’s). The heart behind it is protecting kids, but the actual items on the checklist you need to verify that exist on your site are about limiting the access to those
- Because of this, in order to stay on the right side of the law, site operators need only to put the minimum barriers to entry they can and still stay in the right according to the law.
- This usually means a check box certifying that you are over 13, a message that says you have to be over 13 to join or a limited drop down menu for only ages above 13. By doing this, you are “restricting
access” to only those people above the age of 13.
Yet, this does nothing to deter lying and it certainly does little for an explanation as to why you are putting this hurdle up in the first place. Which leads me to the other area that is often simply forgotten in the design process:
- The other side of this is to really believe in the heart behind the legislation and make up for where it is lacking.
- If you are not able to manage an audience of under 13 year olds, this means putting the same barriers to entry up mentioned before, but explaining WHY they are there, urging the users not lie about their ages, detailing what will happen if they do and then actually caring out those consequences when needed.
- If you are targeting under 13 year olds, you need to decide whether you have everything as canned communication, whether you have the ability to monitor all the content before it goes live, whether you have the ability to obtain verifiable parental consent and the ability to keep a staff managed and up to date on how to best manage and help your community.
MAKE SURE YOU CLICK THAT LINK TO READ THE REST OF JOI’S THOUGHTS REGARDING THESE ISSUES. She’s brilliant and knows her stuff.
Here are several links to my thoughts on similar Tween/Community (each play out like a field diary from someone who HANDS ON deals with protecting and empowering a kids community) issues form the past:
- The latest The Izzy Neis Daily! paper.li/izzyneis?editi… Thanks to @KerryHerdt @thinkwithwitt @EducatingParent #cybersecurity #privacy 17 hours ago
- First experience w @AlaskaAir & @VirginAmerica merger? Fab! Thanks, mega-awesome #SocMed team. So far, so pheeeew! #CreatureofHabit #Loyal 3 days ago
- Check out our quick wrap on #SXSW! via @modsquad: modsquad.com/blog/thats-a-w… #SXSWInteractive #Austin #Texas #StillHaveMeatSweats #Kidding #Ish 3 days ago
- @VirginAmerica Good to know. Nervous to invest more time/$$ in something that will ult. change my great experience. Keep info flowing! TY! 3 days ago
- Nervous! Hey @VirginAmerica, what does this mean for those of us with “Silver" status? Will that title continue? gizmodo.com/say-goodbye-to… 3 days ago