Starting Today, Your Kid is Gonna Need Your Social Security Number


No, not the Italian Ham. The FTC regulation.

I know.  Weirdest title of a post ever.  But today’s the day the new FTC COPPA regulations go into effect.  COPPA is Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.  It’s the law that governs how sites and apps collect information from kids. And that means that suddenly, a lot of the sites your kids visit regularly aren’t going to let them do the things they’re used to doing…at least until they get Verifiable Parental Consent.

Verifiable Parental Consent (VPC)?  What’s That?

VPC is the FTC’s standard for ensuring that a parent really is who they say they are when they approve the online account of any child under the age of 13.  There are a few ways sites for kids can get VPC from a parent.  they can use:

  1. Your driver’s license
  2. The last four digits of your Social Security Number
  3. A form that you sign and send back to them
  4. A micro-charge to your credit card. (which most sites will reimburse)

Of course, the regulations are flawed.  They don’t really verify that you’re your kid’s parent – just that you’re an adult.  Any adult.  And they don’t protect your kids from cyber bullies or inappropriate content.  But they do ensure (at least to an extent) that you know and approve of what your kid is doing online.  At least when your kids are going online to kid-directed sites.  If they’re on sites for adults…well, too bad!  Those sites don’t need to tell parents anything.  Because as we all know, there are no kids on adult directed sites like Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat and Facebook.  Nudge nudge wink wink.

In any case,  I just thought I’d let you know why your kid is suddenly so very interested  in your social security number or drivers license.  You know, so you don’t think they’re trying to rent a car.

You’re welcome.

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