Tag Archives: COPPA; privacy policy; apps; Moms with Apps; Know What’s inside

I just got an invitation to speak at an international Children’s Media Conference overseas (yay!), and walking to my studio this morning was thinking about the subject, which involves working in and presenting children’s content in new media and multimedia. It occurred to me that many of my children’s author/illustrator colleagues who do print books work in much more media than we think….most of us disseminate content crossmedia whether we realize it or not.

For example, I belong to a group of about three dozen established nonfiction children’s books authors called InkThinkTank. Some of these authors are in a division of the group called Authors on Call – they do live videoconferencing, teaching in schools all over. That’s new media. Some also participate (including me) in The Nonfiction Minute – a neat and very timely idea: a fresh new post with lively engaging content is available on the web free every school day to any school, comprised of a 400-word text piece on a particularly interesting nonfiction subject, an audio recording of the text by the author, and several relevant visuals, available for downloading. Again, multimedia – taking content across several platforms.

Another cool new (less than a year old) project in which many authors, illustrators, librarians, publishers, and others in the children’s book industry talk about their work and distribute content is KidLitTV, which also has a YouTube channel and a robust social media presence. So the author or illustrator not only shows the physical print book, they may read from it, do a sketch or another activity, and talk about and expand upon the book’s subject. They are distributing information via media other than print.

I have some print books adapted to or converted to interactive apps – that’s crossmedia. And I work with a publisher doing giant child-size walk-in and desktop-size fold-out picture books (K.I.W.i. Storybooks), with custom-built apps (as well as curriculum) for each of nine subjects. Again – more than one media.

If you have a blog or a website, or do videos or Skype, in which you share content, ideas, or activities, you are working in multimedia. You are also when you do school visits or lectures using PowerPoint or Keynote. Some authors and illustrators put interesting content from their books on their social media sites…again, multimedia.

So, it’s not just making apps and other fancy electronic (or not) creations. Most of you are more involved in new media and cross-platform content distribution than you may think.


K.I.W.i. (Kids Walk-in Interactive) Storybooks:
Authors on Call:
The Nonfiction Minute:
YouTube KidLitTV:

I am happy to announce that my excellent app developer, OCG Studios, is a Founding Member of the Moms With Apps KWI (Know What’s Inside) Program, created to let parents (and educators, librarians, etc) know what is in our apps. We will be allowed to use the badge (kind of like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval) on our apps and website, because we comply with the COPPA requirements for children under 13 years old, follow Best Practices for Children, and are a developer member of MWA. KWI-Logo-Large-02 Moms With Apps has clear understandable (read: not legalese or too jargon-y) info on their site.

However, COPPA (The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act), which went into effect July 1, 2013, also applies to websites (notice the word Online), Facebook, and other social media sites. So if you are an author or illustrator, and have a website with any pages geared  to or appealing to children under 13, you need to have a Privacy Policy on your site – if you offer downloadables like coloring pages, bookmarks; if you collect any info re children (email addresses, photos from school visits or children reading your books, kid’s birthdays, locations, any analytics); if children can access your site and email you for author bio or info; if you have social media buttons, an availability to purchase items, 3rd-party ads, etc, you need to pop a privacy policy on your site ASAP. Or remove them from your site. I am not a lawyer, but it isn’t that complex. From what I understand, it isn’t that you cannot HAVE social media buttons (although why would you, on pages geared to under 13-year-olds, when they should not use them?), or downloadables, or purchases, etc – you have to disclose that you do. If you do collect certain analytics or data, you must have parental consent (see below).

Your Privacy policy should reflect YOUR specific practices. The idea is data minimization. Transparency. I have a simple PP on my website: (It also must be easily accessible –  in the navigation menu, on your home page, or in the footer.) You must also give a contact for people who may wish you to delete info.


Here are some straightforward answers re COPPA (although it mentions apps in particular, it applies to websites too):

Here are some FAQs from the Dept of Justice site: (The Federal Trade Commission oversees the actual law.)


Okay, folks, the FTC is going after the big guys. Good! But, as I mentioned in this blog months ago, they are not only going after apps for not complying, they are checking websites, as noted in the first paragraph. So just put a Privacy Policy up if your site appeals to children under 13.