The Online Collection of Personal Information of Kids Under 13

information

OnGuardOnline.gov wants you to know that as a parent, you have control over the personal information companies collect online from your kids under 13.

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act gives you tools to do that. The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, enforces the COPPA Rule. If a site or service is covered by COPPA, it has to get your consent before collecting personal information from your child and it has to honor your choices about how that information is used.

What is COPPA?  

The COPPA Rule was put in place to protect kids’ personal information on websites and online services — including apps — that are directed to children under 13. The Rule also applies to a general audience site that knows it’s collecting personal information from kids that age.

COPPA requires those sites and services to notify parents directly and get their approval before they collect, use, or disclose a child’s personal information. Personal information in the world of COPPA includes a kid’s name, address, phone number or email address; their physical whereabouts; photos, videos and audio recordings of the child, and persistent identifiers, like IP addresses, that can be used to track a child’s activities over time and across different websites and online services.

Does COPPA affect the sites and services my kids use?

If the site or service doesn’t collect your child’s personal information, COPPA is not a factor. COPPA kicks in only when sites covered by the Rule collect certain personal information from your kids. Practically speaking, COPPA puts you in charge of your child’s personal information.

How does COPPA work?

COPPA works like this: Let’s say your child wants to use features on a site or download an app that collects their personal information. Before they can, you should get a plain language notice about what information the site will collect, how it will use it, and how you can provide your consent. For example, you may get an email from a company letting you know your child has started the process for signing up for a site or service that requires your child to give personal information. Or you may get that notice on the screen where you can consent to the collection of your child’s personal information.

The notice should link to a privacy policy that’s also plain to read — and in language that’s easy to understand. The privacy policy must give details about the kind of information the site collects, and what it might do with the information — say, if it plans to use the information to target advertising to a child or give or sell the information to other companies. In addition, the policy should state that those other companies have agreed to keep the information safe and confidential, and how to contact someone who can answer your questions.

That notice also should have directions on how to give your consent. Sites and services have some flexibility in how to do that. For example, some may ask you to send back a permission slip. Others may have a toll-free number you can call.

If you agree to let the site or service collect personal information from your child, it has a legal obligation to keep it secure.

What are my choices?

The first choice is whether you’re comfortable with the site’s information practices. Start by reading how the company plans to use your child’s information.

Then, it’s about how much consent you want to give. For example, you might give the company permission to collect your child’s personal information, but not allow it to share that information with others.

Once you give a site or service permission to collect personal information from your child, you’re still in control. As the parent, you have the right to review the information collected about your child. If you ask to see the information, keep in mind that website operators need to make sure you are the parent before providing you access. You also have the right to retract your consent any time, and to have any information collected about your child deleted.

What if it looks like a site or service is breaking the rules? 

If you think a site has collected information from your kids or marketed to them in a way that violates the law, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

 

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Hiking with the Kids

School is almost over, summer is fast approaching, and the season of family get togethers, reunions, vacations and barbeques is close at hand. Quite a few of these events may take place in a park, where there will be the chance to take the kids out for a family hike.

Hiking is a great way to spend some quality time together as a family, and is a terrific form of exercise. Getting out in nature, and maybe leaving behind all the instant communication technologies, can be quite liberating too.

hiking

Now, before you get up and hit those trails, there are some simple and important rules you should keep in mind. Remember, you want this to be a fun experience, for both you and your kids.

You can always hike more, but never less.

So, start out with a short hike in mind. If it is going well, you can simply add to it as you go along. Go too far, for too long, and you may be carrying the little ones back to the car.

Safety first.

Bug bites, sunburn and skinned knees are the most common safety issues you want to make sure you can take care of on the trail.

• Sunscreen and bug-spray all exposed skin before setting out on the trail.

• Long pants are better than shorts in protecting the legs from bug bites.

• For the skinned knee, or hand, some anti-biotic cream and band-aids are a good idea to have on hand.

Stay hydrated!

Make sure you bring along plenty of water. There is no such thing as too much water, and the best place to carry your water is inside you. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. Stop every 20-30 minutes and take a few swigs of water. Stay away from sugary drinks, straight water is more than good enough.

Keep up your strength.

Have some good energy snacks with you too. Depending on the length of the hike, you may want to stop, perhaps at a scenic viewpoint, and take a little break with something to eat.

Have a plan if…

The last simple rule needs a whistle Make sure each child has a whistle attached to them. I don’t mean in their pocket, I mean around their neck, or looped into their belt, so they cannot lose the whistle. If, they should ever become separated from the group, they can blow the whistle loud and clear, while staying put. Make sure this is explained to them before, and reviewed during, the hike.

Have fun!

These rules, if followed, will go a long way in making that family walk in the woods a good one. Having it be a good time, a good memory, that is the key to getting the kids – and you – to want to do it again. Hiking is a great exercise that can take your kids to great places as part of a life-long activity.

Some helpful websites for making the family hike fun and safe:

Hiking with Kids – American Hiking Society http://www.americanhiking.org/resources/hiking-with-kids/

• A short list of ideas to keep the hike “kid-friendly.”

Helpful Tips on Hiking – American Hiking Society

http://www.americanhiking.org/gear-resources/tips-for-your-next-hike/

• An excellent resource on everything you may need to know about getting started with hiking. From boots to bug-spray, rain gear to snacks, and safety and first-aide on the trail.

hiking

Kids and Hiking – REI

http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/kids-hiking.html

Just Jeff’s Hiking Page

http://www.tothewoods.net/HikingWithKids.html

Tips for Hiking with Kids

http://www.wta.org/hiking-info/children/resources-for-families/how-to/tips-for-hiking-with-kids

 

Article by: Ned M Campbell is the head coach of James Madison High School’s wrestling team in Brooklyn, NY, and is a USA Wrestling nationally certified coach. He is a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army Officer, who also teaches history at James Madison teamHigh School.  Prior to teaching, Ned M Campbell worked with children and adults with disabilities during summer programs with IAHD and Southeast Consortium,  and volunteered time supporting a therapeutic horseback riding program for youth and adults with disabilities.

Campbell is a published writer, and a contributing writer to the “Can Do” Street blog for kids and parents. In addition, he is the voice of Coach Campbell in “Can Do” Street programs.

Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out Coach Campbell’s co-article for kids, on this subject, featured on the “Can Do” Kids blog at http://candostreet.com/blog-kids/

 

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Kid Jitters and Emergencies

Across the US, there have been several weather emergencies in recent months. Many parents have been confronted with the challenge of keeping children calm while trying to protect them from harm.

Nicholas Garlow from HHS HealthBeat, a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, shared the following message  on just this subject.

Keeping little ones calm during emergencies can be difficult.  Make sure you explain your family’s emergency plan to them well before an emergency.

Different places like day care centers and schools have different plans.  Understand those plans and explain them in kid-language before a disaster to reduce their anxiety if disaster strikes.

Psychologist Dr. Dan Dodgen is with HHS’s Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. He shares, “Particularly for parents, it is important to remember to monitor media to make sure that children aren’t getting exposed to too much information over the air. Young children may interpret a replay as a separate event.

Parents – please remember that children often follow your lead.  If you keep calm during emergencies, there’s a greater chance they will too.”

To learn more about public health emergency readiness, go to phe.gov.

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Food Safety and Power Outages

food

When severe storms or heat waves cause power outages the big food questions are…what to save and when to throw out?

No one wants to lose a freezer and a refrigerator full of food, but spoiled food can cause serious illness.

According to the USDA Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency you need to adhere to the following guidelines:

Frozen Food

  1. A full freezer will keep temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).
  2. If the power is going to be out for a long time, buy dry or block ice.
  3. Thawed or partially thawed food in the freezer may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below. Partial thawing and refreezing may affect the quality of some food, but the food will be safe to eat.
  4. If you keep an appliance thermometer in your freezer, it’s easy to tell whether food is safe. When the power comes back on, check the thermometer. If it reads 40 °F or below, the food is safe and can be refrozen.

 Refrigerated Food

  Keep the fridge closed. It will keep food cold for about 4 hours. Throw away any foods that have been above 40 degrees for longer than two hours.

Words of Caution:

  • Never taste food to determine its safety! You can’t rely on appearance or odor to determine whether food is safe.

  • Always discard any items in the refrigerator and freezer that have come into contact with raw meat juices.
  • Remember, when in doubt, throw it out!

Another caution-be careful when grocery shopping after a power outage. Freezers and refrigerated foods may also have been affected.

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Holiday Travel with Young Children

travelIt’s that time again…time to travel and visit with family and friends over the school holiday.

It’s time to think of ways to keep the kids comfortable and occupied during long trips. It’s time to prepare for the “just in case situation” which always seem to occur when we travel, such as motion sickness.

How to prepare for long car trips:

  • If you’re going by car, plan a travel route with stops where your children can get out of the car and run around and blow off some steam from being cooped up in the car. Good places are parks and child play areas.
  •  Get to where you are staying overnight early, before the kids get overtired, hungry and cranky.
  • Pack some hand sanitizer as it’s a good alternative for hand washing if soap and water aren’t available at a toilet rest stop.
  • Try to make your meal stops a little before the usual lunch or dinner rush hour – you’ll get better service and it won’t take quite so long.

What to take

Apart from the items you’d normally take on a trip, it can be helpful to take extra things just for car travel. Here are some ideas:

  • Paper towels or wipes can be used in lots of ways.
  • Take empty plastic bags for rubbish, dirty clothes and dirty diapers
  • Take a change of clothes for each child. Depending on the season, you might also want to take hats or something warm to put on.
  • Some families take an old ice cream container for accidents of any kind. It can also work as a potty if your child hasn’t been toilet trained for long and there are no toilets around.
  • If you have a child who wets the bed, take a piece of plastic to protect mattresses.
  • Take a bag of things to do on the trip
  • Take some healthy food, such as fruit, to snack on.
  • Bring water to drink, and try to avoid too many soft drinks. Small plastic water bottles with pop-tops can be very good for young children.

Bus or train travel

  • Traveling on a bus or train can be very exciting for young children. But long trips can pose similar challenges to long car trips, as children can become bored with the scenery and of being stuck in a confined space. So, be sure to bring  food, drink, toys and books as you would for car travel.

Air travel

Things to consider when travel is by plane:

  • If you’re going overseas, check with your doctor in advance so you can all get the vaccinations you need.
  • Dress children lightly for air travel, and check that you can get blankets from the cabin staff if needed. Layers of clothes that you can take on and off are a good idea.
  • Some airlines are better at supporting parents traveling with children. It can be helpful to ask other parents about which airlines they preferred to fly with.
  • If you’re able to organize the timing so your trip back home happens during night time, you’re more likely not to disturb your children’s sleep pattern.
  •  If you have a toddler, it can be handy to take a fold-up stroller for him to sit in at airports.

Seating
If you’re traveling with a baby you can ask to have a bulkhead seat, which gives you more leg room and a place for a bassinet. There may already be a bassinet in the bulkhead, but check with the airline when booking – you might have to bring your own, and a size and weight limit applies. Bassinets also offer a place for your baby to sit while you have your meal, or when you just want a break from holding  him or her.

Airline staff
When the airline staff ask at the start of your flight if you’ll need any help, tell them you’ll need a hand to heat bottles and/or solids, and that you might need help at meal times so you can eat.

Toys
Pack a comfort or cuddle toy your child likes for the plane trip. Small toys – such as little dolls, cars, trucks and trains – are good for playing on the tray top.

Some children are more prone to travel sickness than others.

What to do to avoid travel sickness

  • Before leaving, don’t eat fatty foods, but do eat something – it seems worse on an empty stomach.
  • Encourage those with travel sickness to look outside the vehicle, not inside. They shouldn’t look at moving things, like other cars – instead, they should try to look at something that’s still, such as the same spot on the horizon.
  • Make sure there’s a breeze and fresh air – it’s a good idea to have the window open a little bit.
  • Don’t read in a moving vehicle.
  • Some people find that keeping their head as still as possible can help.
  • Try to distract travel sick children by getting them to think about other things.
  • If your child goes pale, gets very quiet or complains of feeling sick, stop and let her have a walk in the fresh air.
  • Speak to your doctor about medicines for travel sickness
  • If your children are often sick, take a container, wipes, a towel and a change of clothes in case of accidents.

Source: Child and Youth Health

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