A: COPPA stands for Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, and is a law that was made effective April 21, 2000 in order to protect the privacy of children under 13 on web sites. The law itself is quite complex,
and you can read more about it at COPPA.org and FTC.gov.
Q: How does COPPA affect Animal Crossing Community?
A: ACC, like many other online sites, requires an email address in order to register and also allows interaction with other members of the site through public and private discussions. Additionally, ACC allows members
to post various pieces of personal information, such as their name, location, picture, interests, and IM screen names into a personal profile viewable only by other ACC members. COPPA requires sites, like ACC, that
allow such interaction and info sharing to obtain parental consent before collecting any personal information from children under 13. This means that children under 13 need parental consent to participate on the site.
For members 13 and older, parental consent is not needed.
Q: What happens to children under 13 when they sign up?
A: If a member indicates that they are under 13 years of age when signing up, they are given the option to enter their parent's email address. An email is sent to the parent with an explanation of the site and why we
require permission for the child to participate on ACC. Instructions for denying or providing consent is included in the e-mail. If the parent gives consent then the child is allowed to participate on ACC just like
all other ACC members.
Q: What happens to existing members?
A: Existing members that previously provided their birth date will follow the same rules as those new members that sign up. If they are under 13, they will be prompted to provide parental consent before continuing to
participate on ACC. If they cannot provide parental consent, then all personal information in their account is wiped out and their account is inactivated. For existing members that have not provided a birth date,
they will be prompted to enter a birth date before being able to continue participation on ACC. Again, same rules apply if the existing member is under 13 or not. All under 13 members must provide parental consent
to continue participation on ACC.
Q: Now that I have to provide my birthday, will everyone be able to see it?
A: All members now have the option to show or hide their birthday from their profile, and from the homepage birthday list. You can choose to show your birth day/month in your profile and on the homepage birthday list,
or just show your age, or both. By default, all members' birthdays are hidden when signing up.
Q: What happens if the parent denies consent?
A: Parents can deny consent to allow their children to participate on ACC. When this happens, the child's account is removed.
Q: What happens if the parent fails to provide or deny consent?
A: After 30 days from signup have passed (or 30 days from going live with the COPPA changes), if a parent has not given consent, the child's account will be deleted, or in the event of an existing member, their
personal information wiped out.
Q: What do parents have to do to give consent?
A: If a parent chooses to give consent to ACC for allowing their child to participate, they must donate $0.30 to PayPal through the Parental Consent Form. The donation is used because a credit card transaction
is an acceptable form of parental consent. The $0.30 is used to cover the fee that PayPal charges for the transaction. ACC receives no part of the donation.
Q: Is sending money through PayPal safe?
A: We feel that PayPal is perfectly safe and secure. We have been accepting donations through PayPal for several years, and have a long list of members that have previously donated and
have never heard anyone complain about the safety of their transactions. If you are concerned about the safety and security of the online payment, you can purchase a Visa or Master Card gift card, and use that
for your donation.
Q: Are there no other options for parental consent? What about a letter or phone call?
A: While COPPA does accept letters and phone calls as methods for parental consent, ACC cannot accept these methods of consent because we are a privately operated site, and do not have the resources or time
to handle the receiving and processing of letters and phone calls. Besides credit card transactions, these are the only other two acceptable methods of parental consent.
Q: What about having the parent send an email?
A: COPPA will not accept email as a method of parental consent for ACC, as this can easily be falsified.