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Parenting in this age of technology brings about challenges that parents of the past never had to worry about. When they are not being monitored, children can have the whole world at their fingertips via smartphones, tablets, personal computers, smart watches, and other means. However, if they are under 13, businesses must comply with the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA), or parents may be able to take legal action, and the businesses or organizations that own the websites or apps may face heavy fines.

What Is the COPPA Rule?

Any website or online service that may collect personal information from children under the age of 13 must follow the rules of COPPA. This includes multiple types of apps such as games, social media, toys that connect to the internet, and many more internet-connected services that children may use. However, it also includes plug-ins, advertising, location-based services, etc. Companies that regularly collect personal information should be careful to ensure that they are compliant with COPPA.

“Personal information” can include anything from full name, address, phone number, or a screen name through which the user can be contacted to social security number, cookie number or IP address, photo or video of the child, or even an audio recording of the child’s voice. This means that some of the information covered by COPPA is not even manually entered by the child, but rather comes from the connection through the computer or handheld device itself.

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FL cyberlaw attorneyIt seems like nearly everything you sign up for now requires you to click “I Agree” at the end of some lengthy legal contract. If you are like most people, you may not even read the words, or you may simply scan through and hit the highlights. What happens when you break the rules of the agreement, without realizing? What do you do when you feel your rights have been infringed upon by a company or organization, but it turns out that you actually agreed to the actions that were taken?

Terms and Conditions or Privacy Policy

Although you may not give it a second thought, you may have clicked a box and agreed to just about anything that has been slipped into their “Terms and Conditions” or their “Privacy Policy.” After all, there are lots of big words that may not even make sense to the average layperson, and who has time to sort through all of that information anyway? However, by virtually “signing” the contract, you are indeed legally bound to hold up your end of the bargain. Therefore, it is generally legally enforceable. Still, there may be a few loopholes.

If you clicked “I Agree” on a “clickwrap agreement,” then the terms would have been placed beside or under the check-box, and that would give a judge reason to believe that you should have actually read the information about what your terms were. This is called “reasonable notice and opportunity to review.” That means you had every opportunity to read it before agreeing, and therefore you should be held responsible.

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