COPPA defines personal information as “individually identifiable information,” including things like a first and last name, a street address, an email address, or a telephone number. COPPA places requirements on websites that collect such information from children. At QwertyTown, we never ask for personal information in order to register or to use any of our services from our users. People who register at QwertyTown are called “users.”
To subscribe to our services and be a “user,” we collect payment information and other personal information from the school district or educational institution only. We will never ask for a user’s or such user’s parents’ credit card information or other “individually identifiable information,” including social security numbers.
Content that is submitted for sharing but that contains either inappropriate content or what appears to be personal information may be deleted. COPPA requires that sites do not condition children’s participation in any activity on the child’s disclosing of more personal information than is necessary. QwertyTown requires no disclosure of any personal information of a child for participation in any activity.
Users may provide additional personal information through chat rooms, blogs, personal pages, etc. This information may be viewed by other users if permitted by the Teacher Account. Care should be taken by users in making any personal information available as other users will have access to such information. QwertyTown does not retain this additional information for its use.
Parental consent may be required for students under the age of 13. Schools can choose to obtain verifiable parental consent before they give the student access to the QwertyTown service if they have not already done so. Schools should supply the parents with a parental consent form to sign, along with the privacy statement, which is available on the QwertyTown site. Once a parent signs the form and returns it to the school, the school may then assign a member ID and a password to that child. Schools and parents should stress to the child that the member ID and password is private and should not be given to anyone else.
The Federal Trade Commission, which enforces COPPA and other government regulations, maintains a website with useful and unbiased information called Kidz Privacy that we encourage you to visit. The FTC also manages another useful, government site called OnGuard Online which “provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.” While most of the information on that site relates to general online safety, it gives some tips for parents, in particular in regards to social networking sites.