Protecting Your Child's Privacy Online

The Internet can be a wonderful resource for kids. Unfortunately, for some kids, the Internet can also lead to trouble. Keep your child safe in the online world with the following tips.

Make the Internet a Family Affair

  • Before letting your kids go online, talk to them to ensure they view safe, appropriate content.
  • Surf the Internet with your child, especially at first.
  • Explain to your kids that they should never give personal information on a Web site without first getting your permission because it could be dangerous if the wrong person got the information. Personal information includes names, phone numbers, addresses, age or birth date, interests or hobbies, passwords, and credit card numbers.

Privacy Is the Best Policy

  • Read the privacy policy on a Web site before giving up any personal information. Look for how the site will use and protect the personal information. Make sure you trust the site before you let your child spend time on it or give information on it.1
  • California law requires a commercial Web site that collects personal information to post a privacy policy. The policy must list the kinds of personal information the site collects. It must also tell if it shares that information with outside companies and the kinds of companies it shares with.2
  • A federal law requires Web sites to have a parent’s permission before collecting any personal information from children under 13.3
  • You can consent to the collection of your child’s personal information and still say “no” to having the information shared with a third party.

Learn More About Online Privacy and Safety

  • The California Department of Justice’s Online Privacy Web page has information on state and federal online privacy laws, tips on reading privacy policies, and useful links to other information.
  • The Federal Trade Commission has information on online privacy for parents, teachers and kids on their Children’ss Privacy Web page.
  • A group of non-profit privacy organizations headed by the Center for Democracy and Technology has information on kids’ privacy in their online Consumer Privacy Guide.
  • Teenangels, a group of teenage volunteers who have been specially trained, runs programs in schools on responsible and safe Internet surfing for kids, parents and teachers.
  • Wired Safety, an Internet safety, help and education organization, has information to help people of all ages with things that can go wrong online.
  • Find more information on our Online Child Safety web pages.


1 See our How to Read a Privacy Policy, available on our Online Privacy web page. Back to link 1

2 The Online Privacy Protection Act, California Business and Professions Code §§ 22575-22579. Back to link 2

3 The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, 16 C.F.R. § 312.5. Back to link 3

This fact sheet is for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice or as policy of the State of California. If you want advice on a particular case, you should consult an attorney or other expert. The fact sheet may be copied, if (1) the meaning of the copied text is not changed or misrepresented, (2) credit is given to the California Department of Justice, and (3) all copies are distributed free of charge.