Children's Online Privacy Protection Act...


Well-known member
So I've been running forums for a LONG time. Back in 1998/9, my then website ( was at its peak and hitting #6 on the Alexa Web Rankings (yes, I know Alexa only ranks IE users, but back then, IE had a 95% market base). That also happened to be when the COPPA act came out. My website at the time happened to be about Pokemon, so you can imagine how this affected me. Actually, not at all, as the COPPA didn't become a requirement till 2000.

The COPPA act pretty much required website owners to verify the act of any user who attempts to create an account. If they are under the age of 13, if they wanted to create an account, it would be the WEBSITE OWNER's responsibility to get parental permission to create the account, or simply reject the account all together. Most websites simply do the latter because it's easier, and kids tend to just say they are older than they really are.

The internet bubble popped and my website went down before COPPA became an issue. Now its 11 years later and I just heard about Disney getting fined $3m for failing to keep to the COPPA requirements in their privacy policy. Looking at history, it appears that the FTC has been going out of their way to fine websites which fail to meet COPPA regulations. And not even just big websites, sometimes small websites too.

Should I be worried about this? I have COPPA disabled on my forums, should I enable it? Does XenForo even have COPPA support? Or does COPPA only apply to websites which fall under FTC jurisdiction? Since I don't sell any "product" on my website, do I have safe harbor provisions? Back when I ran, I pretty much had all 100+ pages of the DMCA memorized... but that was a long time ago.


Formerly Wuebit
I used it have it on all the time back on VB.. Can't say ive seen it in the xenforo options tho

If there is one than yea I would turn it on.


Active member
By default XF disables registration for users under 13, so if you didn't change that hopefully that is good enough? But then again, XF doesn't create a cookie (yes it can easily be deleted) so after they see the message, "You are too young" they could just try again.


Well-known member
Yup I really hate people who use xbox live and the internet in general as a babysitter. If your kid is not an angel in your presence, why would you think they would be better behaved with no supervision. Computers and the internet in general should be supervised educational tools for children...what ever happened to reader rabbit. Also Coppa is pretty dumb itself...if i was 12 and smart enough to register for a website I would also be smart enough to lie about my age if they made a point to ask me and force me to answer. If your that worried about your kid...raise him or her in a bubble. GAH .

So does that mean by forcing a user when registering to enter their birth year...I am covered. To me it is all the same thing.


Well-known member
COPPA has never stopped a minor from registering a forum; most of them lie about their age anyways if they know a forum has an age limit.

I know I did (y).
Exactly. And just think about all the kids that are on Facebook. My own brothers have been on it and they were underage at the time.


Well-known member
COPPA has never stopped a minor from registering a forum; most of them lie about their age anyways if they know a forum has an age limit.

I know I did (y).
Exactly...and to really stop a child you have to identify them does that revealing a minor protect a child's privacy? lol wtf


Well-known member
to me this idea is silly. kids can easily escape those things
i was a kid once and i used to put my DOP 1983 just to avoid restriction
Internet is all about freedom you can do whatever you want whenever you want

Anthony Parsons

Well-known member
You don't have a responsibility to vet every members age, IF you have an age restriction device in place, which XF does. If the person intentionally goes around it and falsifies their information to register, that is not your problem legally. When it becomes your problem, is that if you are told the member is under the age and you take no action then to suspend and verify the account, then you are held accountable again.

People don't need to worry about things if you leave default settings in place and take action if notified a user is under 13. Facebook and every social network has the same issues... but unless they state their real age, there is nothing you are accountable for on behalf of someone falsifying their data.