All of that time kids spend online can be worrisome. And not just for whatever creep they might meet online and run off with, or whatever bullying they might be subjected to, but they could unwittingly give out personal information that they shoudn't. Even if you've schooled your kids in the finer points of not revealing everything about themselves on Facebook or Twitter, you might neglect to think about kid-oriented fansites that let kids get the latest information about their idols like Justin Bieber or Selena Gomez.
But these are places you need to be aware of. You might have thought that laws in various states that prevent the collecting of personal information of young kids would protect them, but apparently not.
The feds recently charged a company called Artist Arena, which ran fansites for stars like Justin and Selena and Rihanna and Demi Lovato, with collecting the personal information of over 100,000 kids under age 13. That information includes their names, email addresses, cell phone numbers, and birth dates. In short, pretty much anything anyone could want to a) steal your child's identity, b) spam or market to your child, c) track your child.
In New York state, where the case was filed, it's illegal for sites to even ASK for personal info of kids under 13. Yet these fansites apparently did just that. And while you may have raised your kid to be smart enough not to send out their email or cell number to someone on, say, Facebook, they probably wouldn't think about giving it over in order to sign into a site with Justin Bieber's mug smiling at them.
All the more reason it's important to monitor your kid's online activity and tell them to never, EVER (not even for Bieber) give over such personal information. If they are dying to sign into a site which is asking for personal info, do what I do. Give fake info!
Do you ever warn your kids about giving personal info to fansites?
Image via JakeAuzzie/Flickr