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Notice, Your Right to Know!

Before a Web site collects your young child's name, address, phone number, email address, etc, you must know about it. That's because Web sites that collect personal information from children online must make reasonable efforts to inform or give notice to parents, and get their permission. These notices are very important as they will provide you with most of the information you need to control how your child's information is used and whether it is disclosed to others. There are several ways a Web site may provide you with notice that they wish to collect that information:

  • Postal mail,
  • Email, or
  • A print out of an online form that is given to you by your child.
    You should also be notified if Web sites want to use information or disclose it to others. They must get your consent or permission to collect that information.

What will Web site operators tell you in these notices?

Web sites will inform you that they want to collect information from your child -- specifying the types of information. For example: "CompanyX.com wishes to collect your child's name, email address, information about his favorite sports, hobbies, and books." Sometimes Web sites will seek only the child's email address and will limit the notice to that.

Notice In Detail

Parents can empower themselves with information provided by Web sites about their child information gathering practices. Web sites will tell you that they would like to collect information about your child. That notice will contain all the information you need to make informed decisions about your children's privacy.

However, you should surf with your children and look for privacy policies posted on Web sites. Look for ones that have good practices and tell you the following (more on how to find, read, understand and act upon a posted privacy policy):

Web site operator privacy policies should tell you:

  • The name, address, phone number and email address of the Web site "operator" collecting the information through the Web site. (In some cases, there may be more than one operator.) You may have to click on a hyperlink to retrieve this information.
  • How they will use the information. For example: for marketing back to the child, fulfillment of a request, making it publicly available through a chat room and more.
  • Whether they disclose information to third parties. The notice will also state what the third parties do and what they will use the information for.

The Notice will tell you what you can do if you are uncomfortable with their practices, including:

  • Reminding you of the general rule that the Web site will only ask for as much personal information from your child as is necessary to participate in a given activity.
  • Telling you that you can review the information gathered Web site and have your child's personal information deleted. The notice will also tell you that you can refuse to permit the further use of the child's information -- and tell you how to do it.
 
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