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COPPA: Legal Protection For Students' Online Privacy

COPPA: Legal Protection For Students' Online Privacy


 In this lesson, you will learn about the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. 

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Source: Office, Pixabay,; Stick Figure, Clker,; Address Book, Pixabay,; Safety Keyboard, Pixabay,; Globe, Clker,; Facebook, Clker,

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Hello, everyone, and welcome to today's lesson. The topic is COPPA: Legal Protection for Students' Online Privacy. Let's get started.

Working in an elementary school, we often get students coming down to the office to ask to call home. It could be because they forgot their homework, lunch, or sneakers for gym class. We, of course, have all their emergency contact information, including home, cell, and work numbers.

Recently, a third grade student came to the office and asked if we could call her mother because she had forgotten a note. We called all available numbers to no avail. We asked the student if she knew where her mom might be. Her response? I don't know, but did you try emailing her on Facebook, because she's on there a lot.

Fortunately, tracking down a child isn't that easy. COPPA is the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. It was passed by Congress in 1998 and took effect in the year 2000. It was designed to issue regulations concerning children's online privacy. Technologies sure have changed quite a bit since then, so it was amended by the Federal Trade Commission in 2012. This broadened the law to reflect the evolving technologies.

COPPA applies to operators of websites and online services that are directed to children under the age of 13 that collect personal information, geared toward general audience when they have knowledge that they are collecting information from children under 13, and knowingly collecting personal information from users of other online sites or services directed to children under the age of 13. Please note COPPA may apply to advertising networks, plug-ins, and other third parties as well. In order to better understand COPPA, it's important to define what personal information is. Here's a list of what is considered personal information. Keep in mind that in a few years, there might be things on this list that we don't even know about yet.

So far, we have name, home address, email address, telephone number, Social Security Number, geolocation data, photographs, videos, audio recordings, device identifiers, and IP addresses. In order for a site or an app to be in compliance with COPPA, the following requirements must be met. There needs to be a link to a clearly written policy from the home page. The site needs to describe what kind of information is being collected and explain how that information is being collected and what it's going to be used for.

They need to provide contact information for those collecting and maintaining data. They have to obtain consent from parents before collecting, using, or disclosing information about a child. They need to provide parents with the opportunity to remove or change information. And finally, they need to maintain reasonable procedures to protect the information.

So let's summarize what we covered in today's lesson. We were introduced to COPPA, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. We talked about who COPPA applies to. We went over some examples of personal information and outlined the requirements in COPPA.

Here's today's food for thought. Now that you have learned about COPPA, how will it affect how you view and post online information? To dive a little deeper, learn how to apply this information, be sure to check out the additional resources section associated with this video. This is where you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material. Thanks so much for watching. Have a great day.

Notes on "COPPA: Legal Protection For Students' Online Privacy"

(00:00-00:11) Intro

(00:12-00:46) Office Story

(00:47-01:40) What is COPPA?

(01:41-02:17) Personal Information

(02:18-02:59) Requirements

(03:00-03:19) Summary

(03:20-03:45) Food For Thought

Additional Resources

COPPA - Children's Online Privacy Protection Act

Official Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act Site: This site provides an overview of COPPA requirements, as well as the full requirements of the act. Teachers and school districts should be aware of this regulation as they move toward integrating more technology into the classroom.

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) - What Parents Should Know

This contains resources on what parents should know about COPPA. This site includes press releases and important information for parents and teachers on protecting the privacy of students. If you scroll to the bottom, you will find two valuable links: 6 Timely Tips for Using Apps with Kids and Net Cetera:’s Internet Safety Campaign for Children.

A Guide to COPPA and Mobile Apps

This blog provides step by step procedures to following the COPPA act when using mobile apps with children under 13. If you click on the link to the right, there is also a template that you can you to create your own privacy policy.