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Q&A: What does California's "eraser button" law mean for my kids?

A new law lets kids remove their online indiscretions -- but that doesn't mean their mistakes will magically disappear.

Q. Will California's "eraser button" law let kids delete all their online content?

A. Kids will still need to be extremely selective about what they put online (and continue to use strong privacy settings). But the bill signed by California Governor Jerry Brown on Sept. 23 protects California minors in two important ways:

  • It requires an "eraser button" on websites directed to minors so kids can remove information they personally posted on websites, online services, and mobile apps.
  • It prohibits websites, online services, and mobile apps aimed at minors from marketing certain dangerous goods or services.

The "eraser button" does not guarantee that all content related to your kid is gone forever. It only applies to content uploaded by the kid making the request. If someone uploads a photo or video of your kid or copies what she's written to another site, that's not covered by the law. Kids still need to think before they post and not post anything they wouldn't want their parents, teachers, or friends to see.

Got a question? Drop me a line, or send me a tweet.

Tell us: Do you think an eraser button would make your kid more responsible about her online reputation?

 

Caroline Knorr
Caroline is Common Sense Media's former parenting editor. She has many years of editorial and creative marketing writing experience and has held senior-level positions at Walmart.com, Walmart stores, Cnet, and Bay Area Parent magazine. She specializes in translating complex information into bite-sized chunks to help families make informed choices about what their kids watch, play, read, and do.