NetSafe staff are regularly asked to consult on or give advice to people or start up companies developing new online products, websites or apps for children.
If you are researching compliance, privacy or online safety issues for a new business idea, we have put this overview together to list resources to investigate.
The US leads the way
As most social networking or community sites for children are aimed at a fully global audience the main rule to follow is the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) . This Act is currently under review to align it with modern social networking/app instances.
Developing a product aimed at children requires good compliance with very detailed US laws. Any operator must also maintain a high level of trust with both the site users and adults/parents to avoid losing members.
Good case studies to investigate are listed below – study their published privacy policies, terms and conditions and safety content written for adults. It may also be worth consulting a local legal expert to review your product:
- Minimonos, a New Zealand website with global appeal
- SmallWorlds, an NZ community aimed at 13+ members with a global audience
- Moshi Monsters – a UK site with limited social networking functionality
- Club Penguin – probably the most popular site for younger children
- Facebook and safety
Will NetSafe review or endorse my product?
NetSafe is a non-profit and as such such does not actively promote particular products or services over others. We are able to assist with basic product development thinking but we do not test child safety or online security products and we do not have a tick or stamp style programme to endorse your website, app or online service.