In this lesson you will learn about how and why COPPA protects children (especially under the age of 13) from companies who may want to use personal information or other data to market or sell to kids or to other companies who are willing to pay for the data websites collect.
Read and Discuss
In the last lesson we talked about how great the Internet is. This is especially true for kids. Kids love the Internet and for good reason. There are great websites, games, social spots, and placing to go for entertainment. Parents are supposed to pay attention to what kids are doing on the Internet. Parents are supposed to have rules that protect their children from being taken advantage of by companies who can make millions of dollars on the information they collect about what kids say, do and share online.
It turns out that some parents don't pay such careful attention and even when they do, companies can be very tricky. Kids can also be tempted to lie about their age in order to get access to games and other fun places. As soon as a kid creates a user ID and password for a website, that website is collecting personal information.
A lot of kids, especially middle school students, don't think lying about age is such a big deal. One girl said, "I'm 12 1/2. That's almost 13. It's no big deal if I say I'm 13. Everyone I know lies about their age." Her friends who were standing around nodded and agreed. Remember the unit we just completed on digital footprints and your reputation? Lying is lying - it's never OK to do and there's almost always a consequence. That means when kids lie about their age to get stuff they want, they are taking a big risk. Even when they think it's a risk worth taking, they should think again. If someone is 12 1/2 they should seriously consider waiting 6 months to sign up for that awesome website they want.
Parents aren't the only people responsible for protecting kids. School officials such as principals, teachers, counselors, and government agencies like the FCC are also involved in making sure companies don't take advantage of children while they are on the Internet. There is an important federal law you will learn more about in this lesson. It's called COPPA (Child Online Privacy and Protection Act). It gives companies like Disney and Google rules about what they are allowed to do. It also tells them what they are not allowed to do. It's a pretty complicated law (most are) and there are lawyers who are experts about COPPA. You won't have to be an expert for the purposes of this lesson but you should know some of the things the law says about protecting children when they are online.
You probably ignore the news when it comes on television but this sometimes the news can be very educational and interesting. It turns out, the video below introduces a reporter who had to learn about COPPA and then explain it to an audience who probably knows little or nothing about it. Watch the video below. As you watch, think about how the reporter goes about explaining COPPA. What methods does she use to help her audience understand what she is talking about. In the end, you will have to judge whether she succeeded or failed based on how much you learned.
Open a Text Entry and write 2-3 sentences about what you learned from the video. You should try to watch the video only once since that's usually how many times people get to see a news story unless they go online and watch the video on the Internet.