‘Dear Santa’ Websites?
Southfield, MI – December 16, 2010 – More than 60 domain names have been registered in the name of Santa Claus, offering children a wide range of opportunities to persuade St. Nick via email that they were not at all naughty in 2010. Before allowing children to share any personal information with a “Letter to Santa” Website, the Better Business Bureau Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) recommends that adults carefully review such sites to determine who is seeking the information, how it will be used and whether it will be shared with third parties.
“Even Santa is required to comply with CARU’s Online Privacy Protection guidelines and the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act,” said Wayne J. Keeley, CARU’s director.
It should also state whether the company shares information with third parties, including advertisers, and whether the company publically discloses the information or retains the information for any future purpose.
CARU offered the following ‘Dear Santa’ site review tips:
- Websites directed to children should not ask a child to disclose more information than is reasonably necessary to participate in the activity – a first name and email address, for instance.
- Limit the personal information children share with Santa and omit physical addresses – Santa already knows where all the children live.
- Check Websites for unwelcome content. Some sites are geared toward adults and may contain language or advertising adults may not want children to see.
- Since hyperlinks can allow children to move seamlessly from one site to another, investigate the hyperlinks to assure children don’t access inappropriate content.
For more information on how to keep your kids safe online, please visit www.CARU.org. Parents who are concerned about the safety of specific child-directed websites and advertising can file a complaint at http://www.caru.org/complaint/index.aspx
About Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Michigan is a non-profit organization with the purpose of assisting in the protection of consumers and businesses from fraud and unethical business practices in the local marketplace. In addition to its recognized dispute resolution services, BBB maintains reliability reports on the customer service history of more than 80,000 local businesses and provides consumer education materials on numerous topics. BBB provides its services free to the public and its service territory stretches across Eastern Michigan from Ann Arbor through Metropolitan Detroit, Lansing, Flint, upward to Alpena, and covers the entire Upper Peninsula of the state.