LegalitiesA fascinating research paper from danah boyd, Eszter Hargittai, Jason Schultz, and John Palfrey examines COPPA and parents' seeming willingness to help their under-13-year olds bypass the age restrictions. Let me cite the conclusion at length:
"Our findings call the efficacy of COPPA into serious question. The data also point to unintended consequences of the COPPA model of regulation of Web-based services. The online industry's response to COPPA's under-13 rule and verifiable parental consent model is largely proving incompatible, and at times, antithetical to many parents' ideas of how to help their children navigate the online world. Instead of providing more tools to help parents and their children make informed choices, industry responses to COPPA have neglected parental preferences and have altogether restricted what is available for children to access. As a result, many parents now knowingly allow or assist their children in circumventing age restrictions on general-purpose sites through lying. By creating this environment, COPPA inadvertently hampers the very population it seeks to assist and forces parents and children to forgo COPPA's protection and take greater risks in order to get access to the educational and communication sites they want to be part of their online experiences."The Supreme Court refused to hear the case of a former high school student in Connecticut who was disciplined for out-of-school, online postings she made. The Court refused to hear a review of the ruling by a U.S. Court of Appeals that the school officials did not violate the student's First Amendment rights by disciplining her for conduct -- vulgar comments made online about school faculty.