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Obtaining Parental Consent

In many cases, a special notice seeking parental consent must be sent to the child’s parents. The operator must notify a parent:

  • That it wishes to collect personal information from the child
  • That the parent’s consent is required for the collection, use, and disclosure of the personal information
  • How the parent can provide consent

The notice may be sent by e-mail or regular postal mail. Replies via e-mail are acceptable when the operator merely wishes to collect personal information from the child. When answers are delayed, operators may seek confirmation of consent by letter or telephone call.

Consent requirements are more strict when the operator wants to disclose a child’s personal information to a third party or make the information publicly available. In such cases, the FTC requires a more reliable form of consent. Forms of consent include:

  • A signed form from the parent via postal mail or fax
  • Acceptance and verification of a credit card number
  • Acceptance of calls from parents through a toll-free number
  • E-mail accompanied by a so-called digital signature

Whenever operators make material changes to their information policies, they must send a new notice and request for consent to parents.

Inside Obtaining Parental Consent