CIPA/COPPA & Children’s Online Privacy

Before taking this course I had never heard of CIPA or COPPA before so in my opinion, these acts are not taken seriously enough, or at least not taken seriously enough for the general public to know about them. While I think it is important that some laws are in place to protect children, I do not think CIPA/COPPA does enough to protect them. As a parent, it was scary to discover that 30% of teens admitted to talking about meeting with strangers in-person. While I think connecting with other children around the world is helpful in teaching American children about differences in culture and privilege, it is hard to know whether the people they are communicating with are actually children. 


COPPA was developed in 1998 (when I was still a child!). It is hard to believe not a lot has changed since then, even with all the advances in technology. In 2013 “the FTC updated the definition of personal information to incorporate geolocation information along with photos, videos and audio files that contain a child’s image or voice.” (Schaffhauser, 2020). This seems like a step in the right direction. While reading the article What to Expect on Student Privacy for 2020  it was a little discouraging to read in the first sentence “we probably shouldn’t expect any changes to it in 2020”. There are over 66,000 public comments that need to be reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) before any changes to COPPA can be made. One thing I am curious about is how was the age of thirteen was determined to be the age to target. I do agree with Danah Boyd’s comment because as a child I remember lying myself to access a website or software that required you to be older. After reading multiple articles I do not have an easy solution to this dilemma, but I am hopeful that some changes can be made to help keep children’s online privacy and information safer.