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:
- “Provide direct notice to parents and obtain verifiable parental consent, with limited exceptions, before collecting personal information online from children;
- “Provide parents access to their child's personal information to review and/or have the information deleted;
- “Give parents the opportunity to prevent further use or online collection of a child's personal information;
- “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
- “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.”
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:
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:
Limited first edition Hardback:
Signed and unsigned copies available only from the author
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Thank you for visiting with A.R. Silverberry today, I am confident you learned something of value today.
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author
Connect with Donna McDine on Google+
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