Since the early days of the Internet, 13 has been the age at which young people can register for their own e-mail, social media, and gaming accounts. This is, in part, because of a U.S. law called the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which strictly limits the collection and use of information about children under the age of 13.
Enacted in 1998, this law has been but a minor buffer in a world where potentially scary information is at the fingertips of our children, nephews, nieces, and younger siblings. Given the rapid development of technology since the law was put in place, many sites (and kids) have found ways to cheat the system, creating online profiles that may open the door for online predators.
That being said, when I began to hear rumors that Google is developing versions of YouTube and Gmail for the younger set, I was confused. But, according to the Wall Street Journal, the company is building versions of their most popular services that would allow children under the age of 13 to have their own e-mail addresses and kid-friendly YouTube accounts. Parents, of course, would be able to control and monitor how the sites are used. And the services themselves would carefully adhere to the standards of COPPA.
What does this mean for you? Potentially, a safer Internet for your kids. They may grumble about the safety measures that these “kid” accounts provide, but you will be able to rest easy knowing that they’re less likely to be targeted by hackers or predators.
At IdentityForce, we’re always looking for ways to keep you and your family safer in the digital age — because there is no reason for you to sacrifice your technology to protect yourself or your family. With services like Child Watch, we will monitor your child’s identity and privacy and alert you to any unusual activity.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Global Panorama.