Online Networking: Important Safety Features
Illustration: Mike Reddy
COPPA Compliance: Federal guidelines that protect children under 13 through the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
Moderators: They monitor site activity and interactions of users to ensure appropriate behavior.
Parental registration: Many sites require a parental e-mail address or even a credit card to create a secure registration process.
Activity approval: Some sites require parents to approve every online interaction including accepting new friends or posting messages.
Filtered chat options: Networks for younger children may offer pre-set phrases to send to friends. Older children may be able to use a chat system that filters profanity.
Networking by age: Some sites only allow kids within a narrow age range to connect.
Report a problem button: This should be clearly marked. Many sites offer a simple button to press or a form to fill out when concerns arise.