What is COPPA?
- COPPA is a law- I emphasize this for a reason- that was passed by the United States Congress in 1998, going into effect in 2000. This law was created to protect younger individuals from posting personal information on internet websites, in order to maintain their safety. However, many people I know/had known violated this law, myself included (although on other websites), and I will be explaining the aftermath of such.
- We need COPPA because many people are hunting down innocents online. It happens to adults- I've lost count of how many stories I've watched on television where a grown individual meets somebody online and ends up meeting their demise. The world is not a safe place- not everything is butterflies and rainbows. There are truly wicked people out there, and if COPPA is to serve as a preemptive barrier for the sake of younger people, by all means, it needs to exist.
- I'm going to be straight up and honest, as I am with every one of my blogs: I violated COPPA when I was seven years old. I joined websites and forums of topics like Warriors and Webkinz, and I ended up becoming a moderator on one by the time I was nine. I knew very well, however, that I was violating the terms of said websites, because I'd seen other people get banned permanently for the same thing.
- Even so, I continued to stay because while I was a very serious person (many people commended me on my "maturity" which was actually me hating other people based off what happened to me in elementary school), I was not emotionally stable. My brain had not developed enough, even then, for me to get involved with individuals far older than me. I realize that now, but when you're younger, you tend to think you know everything: you don't.
Maturity vs Safety
- Now this is the section I suspect will become a full-blown discussion.
- Maturity has nothing to do with being safe. You could be like me, being an eight year old internet forum guru with a serious, monotone attitude, and still not be safe. Just because you think you're safe does not necessarily mean you are. And the reason why COPPA is in place for everybody is because anybody could become a victim of an abduction or something worse. Literally anybody could fall into the wrong hands, even now. It does not matter how mature you are: you still need to be careful.
- In addition to that, your brain does not fully develop until your early twenties: take that as you will.
- Be mindful in assuming good faith. I will be writing a separate blog post about that in particular later on, but do not automatically assume that somebody is COPPA because they type a certain way or have certain interests. I'm almost 19 and I have some interests that others might question.
- The COPPA law isn't meant to offend anybody or demean anybody. It exists for the sake of safety, regardless of how mature you might be.