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COPPA: Bad For Kids

Version: 1.0.1 STABLE (1.0.1)
Development Status: Production
Description: COPPA is unconstitutional! It doesn't deserve to exist! Here is a basic-level explanation about why COPPA is a poor United States law.
Note: This is a research paper that Deltik made for his AP Computer Science class.
Note: COPPA was amended on 01 July 2013.  Click here to see the author's update on 01 July 2016.


Children don't have rights!  A United States history instructor, Lori Holmes, was unable to list a single right for citizens under the age of 18 years.  Preliminarily, Holmes suggested that "children have the right of protection," but rights could be given up; protection can not be given up.  Protection for children is a requirement in the United States.1

The Internet is filled with a myriad of places that collect personal information.  People register to Web sites all the time.  There are about 2 billion Internet users in 2010 and around 220 million in the United States alone.2  Web sites are collecting personal information from a large number of people.

In 1998, United States lawmakers passed two laws―the Child Online Protection Act, or COPA, and the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA.

COPA was an attempt to block the content that children should not view.  To enforce the law, certain Web sites would be required to conduct age checks for every visitor.  This violated the right of free speech, not for the children, but for the Web masters.  The United States Supreme Court declared COPA unconstitutional.3

COPPA is not to be confused with COPA.  COPPA is very similar to COPA, but it restricts a much wider range of Web sites.  Instead of blocking only age-unsuitable Web sites, COPPA prevents kids under 13 years of age to register to a large amount of sites without a signed permission form.  Parents then have the right to take full control over the registered account.  Surprisingly, COPPA is not considered unconstitutional, nor was it ever legally challenged.4

The Federal Trade Commission actively enforces COPPA.  Xanga, a popular social networking site, was fined $1,000,000 for allowing minors to register on their site.5  Hershey Foods, the popular candy manufacturer, also got in trouble with the FTC.  They had an intangible online permission form rather than the required physical paper permission form.6

Somehow, COPPA is enforced for foreign-based Web sites even if the other country does not have rules similar to COPPA.

Not all United States Web sites must comply with COPPA.  For some unknown reason, nonprofit Web sites are permitted to collect personal information from minors without parental consent.  Additionally, Web sites that are not targeted for audiences under 13 years of age are not required to comply.  If a Web site is not complying and the Web master is not aware that he or she is collecting information from under-13-year olds, then COPPA does not apply.7

Many children cannot be tricked by neutral age-screening.  Neutral age-screening is how Web sites can get a child's birthday and on the next page state, "Ha ha! You can't register here because you're not old enough. Don't try the back button because I disabled registration for you."  Children are often trained to clear cookies, which will allow them to return and register to their desired Web site with a false age.8  Few Web sites have methods to prevent this form of lying.  RuneScape corresponds an age to an account immediately and locks the account up for age-appropriateness without collecting personal information.  The child would have to try again with another username.9

Still, children lie about their age in the first place, making younger kids difficult, if not impossible, to detect.  This means that the FTC is encouraging them to be dishonest.10

COPPA applies for kids under 13 years of age.  The reason that the FTC gives can be paraphrased, "Preadolescents are more vulnerable to Internet dangers and don't know about online safety."  It seems that teenagers should also be protected by COPPA by the FTC's reasoning.  Teenagers appear to know about as much about Internet dangers and safety as younger people.11  The FTC could possibly assuming that younger-than-13 year olds are getting attacked more because there are more evil organizations targeting that audience.  The personal information hijacking service, #lolwutgoat, has always focused on young children.  They release personal information in reports called "doxes".12  Even kids almost unknown to the Internet world have been attacked.  A person alias iJames, an inconspicuous Internet user, was technologically destroyed and "doxed" by a malicious cracker.13

Nobody has challenged COPPA.14  The law is virtually untouchable.  Those under 13 years of age want to legally challenge COPPA, but they can't because they have to be 18 or older to have any rights, including the right to legally challenge.  Between ages 14 and 17, the child still feels bad about COPPA, even though it doesn't apply to him or her anymore.  At age 18, all the responsibilities of life hit the new adult.  He or she would not be interested in challenging COPPA because they agree with it or won't care about it.  Parents want to be able to control their kids, and COPPA is a good way to ensure that they can.15

Bart Scott 57 once typed, "COPPA is just as much unconstitutional (as much but no [more so]) as every other law based on age. It is denying someone either a right or a freedom based solely on their age, which is discrimination (firstly) and a violation of one's First [Amendment] right to free self expression, which does (or at least strongly should) include the right to self-exposure.  That is, the right to expose oneself to information.  Not to other people.  We don't need to see that here."16

COPPA is a pointless law.  It shouldn't exist.  COPPA absolutely is bad for kids.

Reasons why COPPA is a poor law:
  • Denies the freedom of self-expression (Constitutional Amendment 1)
  • Discrimination by age
  • Exploitable by lying
  • Encourages children under 13 years old to lie
  • Applies only to Web sites that are commercial, which are the ones that are safest
  • Reduces the Web masters' freedom of speech to younger kids
  • United States law that applies to foreign countries without similar laws
  • The affected audience never had a say in this law
  • Needs complicated unconstitutional methods to be effectively enforced
  • Restricts content that should be available to everyone
  • Applies for children-oriented registration sites but not adult-oriented registration sites
  • Virtually unenforceable with the amount of Web sites there are today


1 Interview with Ms. Lori Holmes, Cedar Ridge High School, Round Rock, Texas, September 2010
2 World Internet Usage Statistics News and World Population Stats <…>
3 COPA Commission <>
4 COPPA FAQ's <…>
5 FTC fines Xanga for violating kids' privacy <>
6 FTC Receives Largest COPPA Civil Penalties to Date in Settlements with Mrs. Fields Cookies and Hershey Foods <…>
7 Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule <…>
8 Interviews with Elementary School Students, September 2004
9 RuneScape – Create a Free Account <…>
10 User Contributions on National Youth Rights Association <…>
11 Retrospective Observational (Statistical) Study by Nicholas Liu about Social Attacks
12 #lolwutgoat <>
13 Interview with James D., New York, 03 August 2010 11:24:13 AM CDT
14 COPPA FAQs <…>
15 Interviews Imtiaz Rahman's "Get Nick Back" Party of IsMyWebsite <>, 11 October 2010
16 Internet Forum Post by Bart Scott 57 <…>
Description Details: The Comp Sci paper is due 13 October 2010.
Other Information: National Youth Rights Association | COPPA on Wikipedia
1.0.1 (2016/07/01)
- Added an author's note before the essay regarding an update to the topic
1.0.0 (2010/10/11)
- Initial Release
Add a Comment:
HaruhiArtist123 Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
I wish it could exist a DA version for 12 years old and minor kids who wants to share their drawings... That would be nice (or at least for me). Some kids draw pretty good for their age,I know a 9 years old girl who can draw like she is 16 years old.
HaruhiArtist123 Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
One of my best friends was 12 years old and she got her account banned because she was 12 years old... And her art was very nice for her age. :no:.
FriendlyHougen Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh my god you are right on so many levels
I flipped out even though I'm 14
i ABSOLUTELY HATE COPPA, and i'm 13, so this isn't a biased statement, i think COPPA is immoral, and we need to take back OUR internet
TopThePurpleGirl Featured By Owner May 21, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i agree. WE MUST TAKE BACK THE WEB!pillow fight Falcon punch fair fight Fun Fight :P :ShutTheFuckUppercut: :battleShip: :RandomBoxingGlovePunch: 
Fullmetal0Thunder Featured By Owner May 14, 2016
Couldn't have said it better myself. The COPPA and COPA banned my old Photobucket account permanently. The reason why; because I was 12. Are you kidding me!? It's only ONE YEAR under the limit! I should still be allowed to join! When there are all these curious, misbehave kids that are going to porn sites, Photobucket chose to ban me! An anthro artist who wants to share her art! This is NOT fair! These people that made this laq should know that this is ageism, which is a form of discrimination. Discrimination based on somebody's age! But now I am 17. I grew up to become a really messed up adult because I had no.other choice but Deviantart. Where mature art is ALLOWED. Porn apparently isn't against the rules anymore.
CuteEwok Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2015
my friend was unable to join minecraft realms due to microsoft implementing coppa but what sucks is that he connected his email like it said to do to be able to join and he's in his teens Facepalm 
DrowningAUS Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2015
COPPA is an evil and disgusting law.
scn71402 Featured By Owner Edited Jan 29, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes. In fact, while it prevents children from joining honestly (can be easily circumventable by lying about age), it also can be a great impact for small businesses due to high fines ($16,000 per child), and can cause chilling effect on companies willing to serve kids. Obtaining verifiable parental consent can also be very costly, and this is why many websites just ban kids. All that creates a vicious circle: ban kids=kids lie to the operator= parental consent=too expensive=ban kids (and over and over). Banning children and reporting them can also do nothing to protect their privacy, since the report forms need proof which can in fact be a child's personal information.
HiImFromTransformice Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
On Facebook 80,000 children get banned from it in ONE year.
scn71402 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
That's right point.
Also, when it comes about cyber bullying, cyber wars or trolling, it's NOTHING compared to the real life street fighting, assault, rowdy hooligans, or just plain real life bullying. Cyberbullying is just heart breaking and disgusting, while real life bullying and fighting can lead to the serious injuries that may even be deadly. One of the pro-COPPA people's arguments is that children should just play outside. Since outside there are more dangers, a kid still has to ask parent's permission for even getting on the house's yard. While playing outside, kid may also be bullied by other local kids which is even more dangerous than an unknown person hurting someone online. As a child I used to experience that: teenagers were attacking me in a group when I just was going out for a sleigh or skate ride. I didn't honestly know who they were. But I was coming back with tears, bruises and wounds. Also, you can play online during thunderstorms and snow but you can't play outside with such weather conditions.
Another one is that kids inherently can't make their own decisions. Trust me, do you know that games are a very good tool for teaching? Games that may teach kids making decisions are sort of awesome, but: these people will treat these games as nonsense. Common sense comes with influence and experience, not age. Both experience and age are time, but age counts since you were born, experience - since you started (this may be VARIOUS ages!!!).
xAprilyne Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
As someone who HAS signed up to web sites under the age of thirteen, I say this is fucking bullshit. COPPA has a place. It just needs to be changed a little.

COPPA isn't violating the rights of kids, it's protecting them. The internet is FILLED with horrible people for one, and kids shouldn't be allowed to run around the internet freely. What is a child under the age of twelve or under here or anywhere else was manipulated into having cybersex and the staff got sued? At the age of thirteen, at least kids can somewhat be held accountable for their actions.

Honestly, while I do generally ignore most underaged members here (I don't consider it worth my time), as long as they aren't a ridiculous age like say, five? Or they are aware they shouldn't be here, then I don't give a damn. Besides, have you ever thought that some websites don't wants kids there anyways?

But yes, I do agree with you. COPPA does encourage children to lie. They lie to they websites, and often times they lie to their parents as well. That's not right.
Fullmetal0Thunder Featured By Owner May 14, 2016
No, you're wrong. Yes it is! It is TOO violating the rights of kids!
scn71402 Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
But some parents and other people offline can be also dangerous for children. Protecting children from disgusting people should be left up to parents, not government. And even in pre-Internet era, there still were risks for a child to get hurt. Everyone can hurt a child, even a parent. Could this be a reason to make another "COPPA" law - where O stands for OFFLINE? Do we ever need a children's offline privacy law? Do we need shops, amusement parks, movies, bars, or other entities to be held liable if they collect children's personal information through OFFLINE media? This means, no letters, no phone calls by children, and no face-to-face communication with them should ever be allowed. Will this give any good for kids?
Ellen-the-Liepard Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2013  Student Digital Artist
COPPA is basically stopping under 13 year old brats from joining anything, and better yet giving their Parents complete control so that their parents can protect them?
This is the greatest bill ever
Fullmetal0Thunder Featured By Owner May 14, 2016
So all 12 year olds are brats? Wow. You're such an ageist prick. As if YOU were never 12. When I was 12, I was NOT a "brat"!
Ellen-the-Liepard Featured By Owner May 14, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Probably old comment. Yet its truly adorable someone is getting upset over someone else calling 12 year olds brats. Yet also disappointing. Just slightly anyway.
scn71402 Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
COPPA does not give parents control of their kids, but rather of personal information from them. And kids can still join by lying about their age. It does not stop them from joining, but rather providing honest information which can be collection from the operator's side.
CoconutMall Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013
we may be the only 2 anti-coppa's on DA.....

Sad, i know...
Itoruna-The-Platypus Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2011  Student Filmographer
Sorry. I like COPPA now.
Fullmetal0Thunder Featured By Owner May 14, 2016
Then there is something wrong with you. There is something dreadfully wrong if you are liking a bunch of ageists. They banned my Photobucket account because I was only ONE year under the age limit. That is DISCRIMINATION.
Itoruna-The-Platypus Featured By Owner May 15, 2016  Student Filmographer
I changed my mind now and don't give a shit either way those people need to smoke a joint
mariafox Featured By Owner May 30, 2011
"Reduces the Web masters' freedom of speech to younger kids"

Deltik Featured By Owner May 30, 2011
Well, I see how you would be correct. Younger kids definitely can lie about their age and remain undetected.
scn71402 Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Especially parents help them to lie.
blue-zap Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014  Professional Interface Designer
fuck coppa
Ask-sweetcake Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012
like facebook
Itoruna-The-Platypus Featured By Owner May 3, 2011  Student Filmographer
COPPA is an asinine organization. Good job. :)
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