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Important! Please read re: Underage Posters  

post #1 of 88
Thread Starter 
You may have noticed that we had a child on the boards yesterday, and we wanted to let everyone know what the laws are regarding children on public boards like this one.

Federal law states that anyone under the age of 13 (12 and younger) MUST have written parental permission to participate in a message board, and the owners of the board must have this permission in the form of a fax or letter on file. If we knowingly allow underage people to post here, our ISP could be forced to remove us from their server. Basically the board could be shut down. Yes, it is that serious.

Although we do have the required choices in our log-in application, some children do bypass this. If you notice what appears to be a child on the board, and it has been pretty obvious when they are children , please notify a moderator. We have such a friendly and welcoming group of people here that it makes the children want to stay because they are actually being taken seriously.

Thank you for your help, and please feel free to ask any questions here.
post #2 of 88
I did notice the child. Do you except to get written permission from her parents so that she can continue posting here?
post #3 of 88
Thread Starter 
At this point I would very much doubt it.
post #4 of 88

It has been my experience that most parents get really upset to learn their kids are hanging with adults. Even the nice adults we have on our board.

Any parental forms are sent to Anne. The general rule is any time there is a child posting on the boards, after it is discovered that the member is underage- the member is denied membership and all posts made from that member are removed.

This is done to discourage others who try to join an adult community as well as to discourage the underage member who can lurk but not post. If the threads are left up, they are sometimes encouraged to try again- resulting this time (when they are found out) of having their ISP banned.
post #5 of 88
WOW, I never knew that was so serious. what about other chat boards and chat sites?? they don't need written permission that I have seen.
post #6 of 88
It is known as COPPA and you can read about it here:

post #7 of 88
Holy cow. that's alot of info to give someone. but in the protection of the kids that's a good thing(provided they aren't giving it to some weirdo)
post #8 of 88
Thread Starter 
More than likely on any board you sign up on, you've had to check a box or something saying you are over 13 (or 18 at the board's discretion). Most people skim right over it and don't think twice about it. I know I didn't until I became a Mod and the issue came up. From what I understand, this particular law is also really only enforcable for sites that are hosted on servers in the US. So if the sites are hosted elsewhere, other laws may apply.
post #9 of 88
Wow...I had no idea. Thanks for the heads-up.
post #10 of 88
Yep.. COPPA. Its kind of hard to monitor but it is a rule on most boards I believe.

Personally I dont think kids under 13 have any business posting on adult message boards. Sheesh I didnt even know what a computer was when I was that young I was too busy doing homework and playing with my friends.
post #11 of 88
I joined TCS about one month after I turned 13-
post #12 of 88
Well when I was that young, there were no computers. I was busy playing Kick the Can and Red Rover and Hide-N-Go-Seek with the neighbor kids. I was reading and raising guinea pigs for 4-H. I do wonder how the kids land here though. Was she looking for Hello Kitty and thecatsite came up in the search?
post #13 of 88
How old was she?

I mean I'm young but I normally understand the limits-

She obviousely thought it was one of those boards you just type "random messages" & stuff..

Who knows.
post #14 of 88
There's really no telling what she was looking for when she came across TCS. If you put 'kitty' into a google search, the first link (at least for me) came up to the official Hello Kitty site, so my guess is she was looking for something other than that. (Or she has no idea how to use a search engine - which is understandable if she was quite young.)

It amazes me that kids use computers for so much anymore. I mean, I don't consider myself old or anything, but I have an 8 year old nephew, who does his research for school online. I remember having to go to the school library, or even the town's public library to get needed information when I was that age. Of course, his parents monitor his pc/online use, so they know what he's stumbling into as well.
post #15 of 88
oh...i have a feeling i know which poster you were talking about...but wow....i didn't know that it was THAT serious.
post #16 of 88
I suspected she was too young, and she confirmed it for us, I didn't realize the problems that it could cause though !

Sam- you probably could have fooled us at 11 into thinking you were older if no one had asked you....you remind me of me at your age---and old soul in a childs body!
post #17 of 88
I remember her asking about Hello Kitty and Role Playing-what is that? I have never heard of that before. You really could tell she was young by her comments.
Glad to see that you guys are keeping and eye out for the kids. I would hate to see TCS shut down for something like that.
post #18 of 88
Wow! I'm really glad to see those rules, our son is 7 and we don't allow him online unless we're there, but you never know when he's at his Mom's house.

I'm glad you guys are so strict too.

When I was 11 computers still took full rooms and punch cards and they still had LESS power than today's modern desktop.
post #19 of 88
Well, Role-playing isn't exactly just for kids. I know more 'adults' than children that do it... actually, I don't know any kids that do... everyone that I know that RP's is at least 18 (still young, but not a little kid) up into their 30s.
post #20 of 88
I have a 7 year old who goes on the internet, but mostly for games at places like Nick Jr, Disney, and cartoonnetwork. Its all so innocent at that age, but it seems like once they hit 10 or 11, suddenly other sites interest them.

The member we are speaking of here most likely stumbled across us and thought it would be fun to play 'adult'. But the consequences are just so serious that I think we have to be this vigilant about screening our young members. Thankfully, there are enough of us mods around that we can keep a pretty close eye for the most part.

Besides, in my opinion, kids that are young should be spending their time running around outside, playing with their friends, etc. Sitting in front of a computer is just not healthy at that tender age I don't think.
post #21 of 88
So bascially what age do you need to be to post? 18?
post #22 of 88
The age is 13, but I wish it was higher. Anyone younger than that has to fill out the form and send it in. She tried to re-register and got caught today, that's how serious this issue is.
post #23 of 88
I had a feeling she was fairly young but her Hello Kitty post kind of let me think she was even younger then I thought.

Personally, I think anyone 16 and under should have parental consent to join and post on a board. But maybe i'm old fashioned!
post #24 of 88
I was kinda scared while this post was loading... I thought everyone under 18 was going to be forced to leave or something.

I wasn't ALLOWED on the Internet by myself when I was 12. If I wanted to surf, mum or dad were always sitting in a chair beside me! At 13, I had a real problem with Internet Addiction because I was finally allowed to surf by myself. Seriously, I was on for 10+ hours a day. It was just so enticing, at a time when I didn't feel comfortable with myself at all, that I could talk to people who couldn't see me. I think the age for forums and chats should be raised to 15... but allowed with parental permission. I know that in my situation, my parents never would have given permission because I was so addicted. They would tell me that I couldn't go online for so many days, and I'd get up at 2AM just to surf. It was like a drug. I didn't go anywhere, do anything. I considered the people on the chats that I frequented as my only friends. I've never really talked about it with anyone before now, and I'm not saying that every 13 year old is as crazy as I was. I think the parental permission thing is a really good rule.

As a person who wasted MANY hours of her childhood on the Internet, I would like to tell that girl to go outside and play. Paint a picture. Go to the library, read a book. Go to the playground. Don't worry about getting on a forum so soon. Although this forum is one of the best I've ever been to, good things come to those who wait.

post #25 of 88
"Stunning Post Jenn" Thank you for your insight on this! I wish she would go outside to play, but sadly it looks like the parental presence in her life isn't really there. She felt so accepted her by everyone- we became an instant family to her.
post #26 of 88
Sam, you are the most mature, well-spoken and intelligent teenager I've met in ages. (Since myself, when I was one, LOL! )
post #27 of 88
Originally posted by Mom of 10 Cats
Sam, you are the most mature, well-spoken and intelligent teenager I've met in ages. (Since myself, when I was one, LOL! )
That's the truth!!
post #28 of 88
Originally posted by Mom of 10 Cats
Sam, you are the most mature, well-spoken and intelligent teenager I've met in ages. (Since myself, when I was one, LOL! )
I agree.Very mature for a 13 year old.
post #29 of 88
WHOA i diden't see the child either
post #30 of 88
Jenn do me mind me asking? How did you get un-addicted to the computer, or did you?
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