Hormones Should Play A Role In Lawmaking, Say Advocates

COPPA teenagers
A group of parents and doctors sent a letter to the president saying they want lawmakers to consider hormones when considering COPPA teenager rules.

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, safeguards kids under the age of 13. But now, a group of medical and consumer advocacy groups are urging officials to enact laws that further protect the personally identifiable data of adolescents aged 13 to 18.

Advocates Want Politicians To Think About Teenagers’ Hormones When Crafting COPPA Rules

Representatives from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Center for Digital Democracy, Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Consumer Federation of America all added their John Hancocks to a letter urging Feds to push for more teen-focused protective online privacy laws.

The letter calls primarily for three things:

  • Adherence to Fair Information Practice Principals when marketing to teenagers
  • A teenage-friendly privacy policy (whatever that means.)
  • Clearly distinguishable methods to opt-in and out of various data collection programs

Why are people pushing for stricter teenage-centric, online privacy laws? Simply put: hormones.

Teenagers “experience greater emotional volatility than younger children and adults. As such, they’re more susceptible to digital marketing,” the letter explained. In other words (and I’m paraphrasing here), “middle school and high-school aged individuals are notoriously bad decision makers, governed by animalistic urges and a seemingly insatiable desire to experiment; we should be careful with how their data is used and collected during this life stage.”

Other Online Privacy Bills Are Making Their Way Round Capitol Hill

This push comes in the wake of several Capitol Hill online privacy bill proposals. While most of the acts in review don’t specifically make mention of teenagers, the Do Not Track Kids Act does. Co-sponsored by Ed Markey (D-MA) and Joe Barton (R-TX), the Do Not Track Kids ACT calls for a ban on all behavioral marketing of citizens 18-years-old and younger.

(A cursory analysis of how an 18-and-younger marketing ban will work, however, is somewhat perplexing. After all, if the statues calls for a ceasing of behavioral targeting on people of a certain age, how do they intend to pinpoint users’ ages if they want to ban all teenage-focused cookie tracking? But that’s another technical puzzle for another day.)

Get In Touch With A COPPA Lawyer

If you run a website that deals with kid-related products or issues, it’s important to make sure you’re in compliance with COPPA regulations. If you don’t, you could be staring down the barrel of an FTC lawsuit. Moreover, elected officials are eager to pass statues like the one described above – better to get your ducks in a row now than wait till the last minute.

The Kelly Law Firm can help. And guess what, it costs a lot less than you probably think; after all, lawyers who are tech geeks at heart understand the mindset and revenue limitations of online entrepreneurs.

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