Study suggests strong support for revised laws to protect children online

There is overwhelming support for changes to laws to protect children online in the US, according to a study conducted by Princeton Research Associates International, in conjunction with the Center for Digital Democracy and Common Sense Media.

There is overwhelming support for changes to laws to protect children online in the US, according to a study conducted by Princeton Research Associates International, in conjunction with the Center for Digital Democracy and Common Sense Media.

 
2,000 adults were surveyed over a two-week period in November, and the vast majority of them not only agree with the core elements of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), but want to see further changes to the law to better protect kids on the internet.
 
COPPA requires that online companies that wish to obtain personal information on children must first seek the permission of the parents, and 90 percent of those asked agree that this should be the case. However, technology has advanced significantly since 1998, when COPPA was passed, and 2000, when the law was finally implemented, and since then privacy has become a growing concern.
 
91 percent believe advertisers should not be able to identify a child's location through their mobile phone. 
 
94 percent of parents and 91 percent of adults in general believe parental permission should be sought before any kind of tracking software is allowed to be installed on a child's computer. 
 
 Study suggests strong support for revised laws to protect children online
 
96 percent of parents and 94 percent of adults in general are against the idea of websites asking children for the personal information of their friends. 
 
80 percent of adults opposed the collection of activity reports of a child's online usage, even when such reports are anonymous.
 
“It is clear from these findings that the public supports strong action by the FTC to address the disturbing and widespread practices that threaten the privacy and safety of our nation’s children,” said Kathryn C. Montgomery, Ph.D, professor of communication at American University and one of the leaders of the campaign to pass COPPA. “Children should be able to reap the benefits of this new participatory media culture without being subjected to techniques that take advantage of their developmental vulnerabilities. We must ensure that the COPPA rules are updated effectively so that the generation of young people growing up online today will be treated fairly in the growing digital marketplace.”
 
Changes to COPPA are expected to be announced by the Federal Trade Commission in the coming weeks, which will likely affect mobile location tracking, cookies, plug-ins, and other tracing software.
 
Image Credit: Jarenwicklund