Thursday, July 31, 2014

Guest Blogger - COPPA for Authors by A.R. Silverberry

As promised, A.R. Silverberry is the guest blogger today. The topic COPPA is timely for authors and is a must read and reference tool for your writing career. Without further ado, take it away A.R. Silverberry….

COPPA for Authors

Guest Post by A. R. Silverberry

A lot of authors ask, “What is COPPA, and do I have to address it on my website?” COPPA stands for Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. It was enacted in 1998 and became effective in 2000, with an amended rule in 2012 that became effective July 1, 2013. What COPPA does is give control to parents over what information is collected online from their children, under age thirteen. According to the Bureau of Consumer Protection Business Center, COPPA applies to “operators of commercial websites and online services (including mobile apps) directed to children under 13 that collect, use, or disclose personal information from children, and operators of general audience websites or online services with actual knowledge that they are collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children under 13.”  If websites or online services have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information directly from users of another website or online service directed to children, the COPPA Rule applies.

As a children’s author, there were several ways I fell under the COPPA Rule. First, if a child under age thirteen emailed me, I had collected information from them, namely, their email address. Children might also want to sign up for my Newsletter or post a comment on my blog. Finally, I periodically have contests on my website that children under thirteen may enter. When I began doing live book signings, I did in fact receive emails from children under thirteen, happily, who enjoyed my book. Happily also, I had my COPPA policy in place so that I could follow the appropriate procedures. Here’s what the Rule requires; quotes are from the Bureau of Consumer Protection:

  1. “Post your online privacy policy. It should be clear, comprehensive, and describe “information practices for personal information collected online from children;
  2. “Provide direct notice to parents and obtain verifiable parental consent, with limited exceptions, before collecting personal information online from children;
  3. “Provide parents access to their child's personal information to review and/or have the information deleted;
  4. “Give parents the opportunity to prevent further use or online collection of a child's personal information;
  5. “Maintain the confidentiality, security, and integrity of information they collect from children, including by taking reasonable steps to release such information only to parties capable of maintaining its confidentiality and security; and
  6. “Retain personal information collected online from a child for only as long as is necessary to fulfill the purpose for which it was collected and delete the information using reasonable measures to protect against its unauthorized access or use.”


Personal information includes first and last name; home or other physical address, including street name and town or city; online contact information; screen or user name that functions as online contact information; a telephone number; a social security number; a persistent identifier that can be used to recognize a user over time and across different websites or online services; a photograph, video, or audio file, where such file contains a child’s image or voice; geolocation information sufficient to identify street name and name of a city or town; and information concerning the child or the parents of that child that the operator collects online from the child and combines with an identifier described above.

If you don’t have a site directed toward kids but instead have a general audience website, you still might fall under COPPA if you have knowledge that you’re collecting information from children under thirteen. What is considered actual knowledge of a user’s age? According to the FTC, actual acknowledge can arise when “The site or service asks for – and receives – information from the user that allows it to determine the person’s age. For example, an operator who asks for a date of birth on a site’s registration page has actual knowledge as defined by COPPA if a user responds with a year that suggests they’re under 13. An operator also may have actual knowledge based on answers to “age identifying” questions like “What grade are you in?” or “What type of school do you go to?  (a) elementary; (b) middle; (c) high school; (d) college.” 

I have a COPPA Privacy Policy link at the bottom of my home page that takes visitors to my policy. My policy is on my contact page, and at the bottom of the policy, visitors can access a PDF version of the policy. The response I have gotten from parents when I contact them about the policy has always been positive, and I believe it has increased their respect for me as a children’s author.

There you have it: COPPA in a nutshell. This article is intended as an introduction to raise authors’ awareness of COPPA. Nothing written here is intended as the official word on COPPA or a substitute for legal advice. If your website or blog falls under COPPA, you can learn more by going to the Children’s Privacy page on the FTC website and also check out their Frequently Asked Questions. Having a privacy policy in place protects you, and especially, children.

About A. R. Silverberry:
A. R. Silverberry writes fiction for adults and children. His novel, WYNDANO’S CLOAK, won multiple awards, including the Benjamin Franklin Award gold medal for Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction. He lives in California, where the majestic coastline, trees, and mountains inspire his writing. THE STREAM is his second novel. Follow him at www.arsilverberry.com.

Synopsis of The Stream:

What if your world was six miles wide and endlessly long?

After a devastating storm kills his parents, five-year-old Wend awakens to the strange world of the Stream. He discovers he can only travel downstream, and dangers lurk at every turn: deadly rapids, ruthless pirates, a mysterious pavilion that lures him into intoxicating fantasies, and rumor of a giant waterfall at the edge of the world. Defenseless, alone, with only courage and his will to survive, Wend begins his quest to become a man. Will tragic loss trap him in a shadow world, or will he enter the Stream, with all its passion and peril?

Part coming-of-age tale, part adventure, part spiritual journey, The Stream is a fable about life, impermanence, and the gifts found in each moment.

Purchase The Stream:

Ebook:




Softback:



Synopsis of Wyndano’s Cloak
A sinister shapeshifter threatens to shatter Jen’s world and the kingdom of Aerdem. But how will she strike? A knife in the dark? An attack from her legions? Or with the dark arts and twisted creatures she commands with sinister cunning. Wyndano's Cloak may be Jen's only hope. If she has what it takes to use it . . .
Secrets, riddles, and mystery abound in this award-winning fantasy of loyalty, betrayal, and the yearning of the spirit. Ages 10 and up.

Purchase Wyndano’s Cloak:

Ebook:




Limited first edition Hardback:

Signed and unsigned copies available only from the author

Follow A. R. Silverberry:





Thank you for visiting with A.R. Silverberry today, I am confident you learned something of value today. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author


Connect with

A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review


Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Reader's Farvorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

30 comments:

  1. Very interesting article. I had heard of COPPA, but did not have a grasp on it. Brief, but in depth article. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tracey,

      Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad A.R.'s post made it clearer for you.

      Best,
      Donna

      Delete
  2. I'm so glad it's helpful, Tracey. Thanks for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi A.R.,

      It's a pleasure having you as my guest blogger today.

      Best,
      Donna

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Hi Karin,

      Thanks for stopping by. Valuable info indeed.

      Best,
      Donna

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Karin, it was helpful for me to review it!

      Delete
  4. Interesting guest post. Thanks for all of the links that were provided.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Susanne,

      Glad you found A.R.'s info and links valuable!

      Best,
      Donna

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    2. My pleasure, Suzanne. Since the internet, and hence COPPA, are a moving target, I wanted to provide everyone with links they could periodically go to.

      Delete
  5. So far I don't have to be concerned because my audience is older, but this is very important for writers who aim at the younger set. Great that you posted this.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lee,

      Thanks for stopping by and visiting with A.R., much appreciated!

      Best,
      Donna

      Delete
  6. Thank you for this information. I had heard of COPPA but had no idea of the details. I am thinking of doing a middle-grade reader book around the end of the year, so I will definitely tuck this information away to review again later.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you stopped by and found the information worthwhile. Definitely a terrific topic!

      Best,
      Donna

      Delete
  7. Great info. Thanks so much for posting it Donna.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Susan,

      Glad you found the information important.

      Best,
      Donna

      Delete
  8. Hi Donna and A.R., thanks for posting this important info. I hadn't heard of it but I will make sure I follow this. So far no children have contacted me. At book signings kids are with their parents. Thanks so much,
    Penny (www.penelopeannecole.com)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad it was helpful, Penelope! Even if nothing has come up, it's best to have it in place. That way you won't be scrambling!

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    2. Hi Penny,

      Thanks for dropping by. This is why I love guest bloggers, they bring something new to the table. The topic is an important one.

      Best,
      Donna

      Delete
  9. Donna, people who found this article interesting should check out the guest post you did on my blog about utilizing Keywords as a marketing tool! Here's the link:

    http://www.arsilverberry.com/importance-keywords-marketing-toolbox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi A.R.,

      Thank you for the additional mention of my guest blogger article today, much appreciated!

      Best,
      Donna

      Delete
  10. Great article, tons of information clearly stated for everyone to understand. I had very little knowledge of any of this so it will be helpful in the future!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting. Glad you found A.R.'s article helpful and interesting!

      Best,
      Donna

      Delete
    2. Glad it was helpful, Cheryl. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  11. Great article! Thanks for the info!!!

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  12. Hi Margo,

    Thanks for taking the time out to visit with A.R. His article is worthy of printing out and saving for future reference.

    Best,
    Donna

    ReplyDelete

Thank for you taking the time out to visit with me and to learn about my writing career.

Please be sure to leave your blog address so I can reciprocate.

I look forward to visiting you too.