What is COPPA?

Congress enacted COPPA (The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) in 1998 with strict new revisions that went into place July 2013. COPPA required the Federal Trade Commission to issue and enforce regulations concerning children’s online privacy. The primary goal of COPPA is to place parents in control over what information is collected from their young children online. The Rule was designed to protect children under age 13 while accounting for the dynamic nature of the Internet.

COPPA applies to operators of commercial websites and online services (including mobile apps and connected toys) directed to children under 13 that collect, use, or disclose personal information from children, and operators of general audience websites or online services with actual knowledge that they are collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children under 13. COPPA also applies to websites or online services that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information directly from users of another website or online service directed to children.

Click here to read the Rule.


How do I determine if my online property triggers COPPA?

Do you...

  • Collect personal info from children under 13 (first name, last name, email, phone, username, password, age, gender, city, state, hobbies, etc.)?
  • Facilitate the ability to upload pictures, video or audio?
  • Provide wish list, sharing and/or “tell a friend” features?
  • Use behavioral or contextual marketing?
  • Share information with third parties or ad networks?
  • Enable connected smart toy or device 
  • Provide Facebook login or other open ID authentication services?
  • Chat and/or messaging board functions?
  • Newsletter and/or push notifications?
  • Attract children even though they are not your target audience?


If you can say YES to any of the above, then you should speak with a COPPA expert.

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