Common Sense Media Calls for Key Upgrades to the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act

Common Sense Media proposes several essential steps to provide parents with the tools, opportunities, and information to protect their children’s privacy and personal information
For immediate release
Wednesday, June 30, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Today, Common Sense Media filed comments with the Federal Trade Commission on the review of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which was created in 1998 to help parents control the information that is collected from and about their children online.

“Today, changes in technology and digital media have made it even more difficult for parents to keep tabs on their children’s personal information online,” said James Steyer, CEO and founder, Common Sense Media. “In this rapidly evolving and increasingly mobile digital world, parents can’t control the types of information collected about their children online unless they’re given reasonable opportunities, so industry must make significant changes to the ways they collect personal information. In addition, parents can’t control children’s personal information online unless they understand how the online world works, so parents must have access to more information and educational tools.”

Common Sense suggested several essential steps to provide parents with the tools, opportunities, and information to protect their children’s privacy and personal information. These critical measures include changing the industry standard for collecting information from “opt-out” to “opt-in,” and demanding that companies provide clear, easy to understand information about how personal information will be used.

Through its digital literacy and citizenship initiative, Common Sense Media is already working with industry partners, policymakers, and educators across the country to help provide parents with tools and information to prepare their kids to live safely and responsibly in a digital world. Our new digital citizenship curriculum for middle schools, Digital Citizenship in a Connected Culture, includes key lessons on protecting personal privacy and respecting the privacy of others. The curriculum is already being implemented in Maine and Omaha, Neb., with New York City exploring options for implementation in the coming school year. Comcast promoted Common Sense’s digital literacy video tips in its Highlights video on the On Demand on-screen programming guide –– which reaches into more than 17 million homes –– in conjunction with June’s Internet Safety Month, and YouTube featured the video “Rules of the Road for Kids” in its home page Spotlight this month.

About Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. We exist because our kids are growing up in a culture that profoundly impacts their physical, social, and emotional well-being. We provide families with the advice and media reviews they need in order to make the best choices for their children. Through our education programs and policy efforts, Common Sense Media empowers parents, educators, and young people to become knowledgeable and responsible digital citizens. For more information, go to: www.commonsense.org.

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