Privacy Policy and Terms of Use (Age Issues)

Codemaster Jamal

Neophyte
Joined
Oct 5, 2020
Messages
6
Hello, my name is Codemaster Jamal and I'm an indie game developer. I recently developed my own website for my company called "MW Industries - Game Development and Software". I am currently working on a Monster Catching MMO, and this site will essentially become the headquarters of it. That being said, I decided to make a completely custom message board software on my own, for my members to post on the forums. Users will be able to create an account and use that account to login and play games.

Currently, since I know my community is going to have a lot of gamers, I'm not sure how to go about the age restriction for my site. If you access my site, you currently cannot login or register an account, and they won't be able to until I get a decent privacy policy up. I was wondering if anyone could give me some decent advice on how to go about age restriction for my site? As of now, it says that you need to be at least 13 years of age in-order to make an account. Should I stick to this rule? I also know it will be a while but, I also think there may come a time period when children under the age of 13 may want to play some of my games (this will be a long time from now but, hypothetically speaking), in that scenario, is there anyway to write it in a policy that if a user is under the age of 13, they need their parents to create and monitor their account for them? At most, I can imagine parents buying my MMO for one of their kids, since the game is about monsters and whatnot, even though the game itself, isn't entirely kid-friendly.

Does anyone have any advice or am I just overthinking it?
 

Pigoo

Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Messages
246

Oh!

Adherent
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
289
Hello Codemaster Jamal,

If you are based in the US (or will have US visitors), you might well be already familiar with COPPA, but if not, start there.

If you wish to allow access for the under-13s, the compliance rules are quite tough. From the Wikipedia page:

In December 2012, the Federal Trade Commission issued revisions effective July 1, 2013, which created additional parental notice and consent requirements, amended definitions, and added other obligations for organizations that (1) operate a website or online service that is "directed to children" under 13 and that collects "personal information" from users or (2) knowingly collects personal information from people under 13 through a website or online service.[30] After July 1, 2013, operators must:[31]
  • Post a clear and comprehensive online privacy policy describing their information practices for personal information collected online from persons under age 13;
  • Make reasonable efforts (taking into account available technology) to provide direct notice to parents of the operator's practices with regard to the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information from persons under 13, including notice of any material change to such practices to which the parents has previously consented;
  • Obtain verifiable parental consent, with limited exceptions, prior to any collection, use, and/or disclosure of personal information from persons under age 13;
  • Provide a reasonable means for a parent to review the personal information collected from their child and to refuse to permit its further use or maintenance;
  • Establish and maintain reasonable procedures to protect the confidentiality, security, and integrity of the personal information collected from children under age 13, including by taking reasonable steps to disclose/release such personal 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.
  • Operators are prohibited from conditioning a child's participation in an online activity on the child providing more information than is reasonably necessary to participate in that activity.[32]

There is a chance that the COPPA age limit might be upped in the near future to 16. So even if you decide that it is not worth the effort of jumping through those hoops for the under-13s now, it might pay in the long run if the age limit does go up to 16. (I have no idea of the progress of the proposed legislation).
 

Codemaster Jamal

Neophyte
Joined
Oct 5, 2020
Messages
6
Thanks a lot guys! Boy, do I have a lot of reading to do. I'm going to take the time to study up on everything and form the best policy necessary to get my forum up and going. Thanks a lot, I greatly appreciate the help and for steering me in the right direction.
 
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