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A New Model For A Kid-Friendly Internet

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Carrots&Cake listened to the top Screen Time podcasts by TVO & summarized the key takeaways on Internet safety. Carrots&Cake independently created these podcast notes and does not have any affiliation with the Screen Time podcast.

Key Individuals

  • Taylor Owen -  Founding director of The Center for Media, Technology, Internet and Democracy
  • Nicole Edwards - Tech journalist and podcast producer
  • Baroness Beeban Kidron - Member of the UK’s House of Lords and founder of Five Rights, an advocacy group for children's digital rights.

Key Takeaways

  • The primary goal of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) is to place parents in control over what information is collected from young children online.
  • (COPPA) regards persons aged 13 and above to be adults.
  • Facebook attempted to bring users younger than 13 onto their platform. By providing gaming opportunities to this age group, Facebook would mine the users' personal information. Facebook would use this data to generate profit.
  • The designers & developers of these social media apps say, "That's what we do. We designed to adapt and make it addictive; we designed to slay; we design in ways that are absolutely harmful to kids."
  • Eventually, when proper online child privacy protection laws are applied, kids will grow up having agency in the digital world.
  • It's important to remember that kids gain joy through their experiences online. Kids are now very much surrounded by the digital world, and this has the potential to be very positive.


  • The American legislation COPPA indicates that an online operator must obtain verifiable parental consent before any collection, use, or disclosure of personal information from children, including consent to any material change.
  • Although COPPA is American-based legislation, it is recognized globally and has shaped how companies are built and designed worldwide.

Why does COPPA regard children aged 13 and above as adults?

  • The legislation originated within the dot-com bubble in the United States in 1998.
  • Upon the legislation's launch, various parties originally debated whether the age should be set as 16 rather than 13. But, e-commerce sites which were the bedrock of the internet at the time were pushed back. This was because it would prevent them from tapping into the highly lucrative market of teens buying items on the internet. Civil liberties associations agreed with them.

The global effect of COPPA

  • In 2021 the UK introduced the age-appropriate design code. This lays out a series of rules companies must follow if their website is likely to be accessed by anyone under 18, not 13.
  • An additional legislation currently working its way through the UK parliament is the online safety bill. The online safety bill would require tech companies to proactively remove content, including threats, revenge porn, or deliberately false information. If companies do not follow these rules, they may face severe financial penalties. This law has specific provisions for kids.

Impacts of COPPA

  • YouTube turns off Autoplay by default (70% of what users see is offered to them by Autoplay, based on the algorithm).
  • For users under 16, Instagram and Tik Tok have disabled the feature allowing adult strangers to direct message them.
  • TikTok stops notifications for under 16-year-olds at 9 pm and under 18-year-olds at 10 pm.

To learn more about screen time and its impact on your child's brain development, listen to the full podcast here by Screen Time.

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Sam McDonald

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