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The Savvy Consumer Column: Tips to Protect Children’s Privacy

National Consumer Protection Week 2010Nashville – As National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW) gets under way March 7-13, the Consumer Affairs Division would like to highlight the importance in protecting children’s privacy.

National Consumer Protection Week reinforces the importance of consumer education on issues such as identity theft, online fraud and other deceptive and fraudulent practices. This is also a time to stress the need in protecting children’s privacy. Whether they are studying, socializing, playing games or learning, kids are spending a lot of time online. Parents must ensure kids make smart and safe choices when they are online. Your child’s personal information and privacy are valuable – to you, to them and to marketers.

  • Check out sites that your child visits and read their privacy policies.
  • Be selective with your permission. In many cases, websites need your permission before they are allowed to collect personal information from your child.
  • Know your rights. As a parent, you have the right to have a site delete any personal information it has about your child.
  • Talk to your child. Make sure he or she knows what information should be private.

The U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 requires website operators to:

  • Post a privacy policy and link to it on pages where personal information is collected.
  • Explain its process and get parents’ permission to collect information from their children.
  • Allow parents to choose if their child’s information will be shared with other people.
  • Give parents access to their child’s information and the opportunities to delete it and to opt out of future collection.
  • Protect the personal data collected from children.

This year’s theme — Dollars & Sense: Rated “A” for All Ages — highlights the importance of using good consumer sense at every stage of life – from grade school to retirement.

This year, NCPW organizations are reaching out to kids, focusing on websites, videos and games designed for a younger audience. Kids under 12 spend billions of dollars on goods and services each year, so it makes sense to provide them with these valuable tools. It’s essential that kids understand key consumer and business concepts, like credit and identity theft, banking and fraud, and marketing and advertising. The resources highlighted on the NCPW website introduce these concepts and teach kids practical lessons about the role of business and government in their everyday lives.

In addition, for the first time, the NCPW website features a blog, where visitors can discover new consumer resources in an informal and interactive environment. Here, visitors have the opportunity to connect directly with representatives of public and private consumer protection organizations.

National organizers of this year’s NCPW include AARP, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Consumer Federation of America, the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the Federal Citizen’s Information Center, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Trade Commission, the National Association of Attorneys General, the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators, the National Consumers League, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Postal Service.

For more information about NCPW, visit www.consumer.gov/ncpw.

About the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs

Consumer Affairs is a division of the Department of Commerce and Insurance, which works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. Please feel free to call Consumer Affairs toll-free at 1-800-342-8385 or visit www.tn.gov/consumer.


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