Children's Privacy - Fact Sheet 

What is COPPA?

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was enacted to help parents gain control over what information is collected about their children online. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has investigative and enforcement authority to ensure that developers comply with COPPA.

Does COPPA Apply to you?

  • Applies to operators of commercial websites, online services, including mobile apps directed to children under 13 that collect, use, or disclose personal information from children. 
  • Applies if you have actual knowledge that you collect, use, or disclose personal information from children under 13 or if you have actual knowledge you are collecting personal information directly from users of another website or online service directed to children. 


  • Apps must have clear descriptions of their online privacy policy regarding children.
  • Parental notice and consent is required if apps would like to collect personal information about children.
  • Personal Information includes:  First and last name, a home or other physical address including street name and name of a city or town, online contact information, a screen or user name, a telephone number, a social security number, a photograph, video, or audio file containing a child’s image or voice and more. 

FTC Enforcement

  • COPPA was amended in 2013.  Few enforcement cases have been brought since, resulting in uncertainty.
  • Violations can bear penalties up to $16,000 per violation.
  • In 2013 the social networking app "Path” paid $800,000 for illegally collecting personal information from children without their parents’ consent. 
  • Website paid $1 million for violating COPPA by collecting personal information form children without parental permission.

What Developers can do:

  • Create a privacy policy.  Then use free code from Intuit and the Alliance to add easy to read privacy policies into your app.

  • Consider using vendors such as AgeCheq, AssertID, Famigo, and KPass to ensure approval is from a verified parent. 

  • Consider joining an FTC approved safe harbor program, which allows businesses the ability to self-regulate.

For more information:

FTC’s FAQs for COPPA Compliance