Q: I run a site that I believe may fall within the FTC’s sub-category of a website directed to children but where it is acceptable to age-screen users. Can I age-screen and completely block users who identify as being under age 13 from participating in any aspect of my site?
A: No. If your site falls within the definition of a “Web site or online service directed to children” as set forth in paragraph (1) of 16 C.F.R. § 312.2, then you may not block children from participating altogether, even if you do not intend children to be your primary target audience. Instead, what the amended Rule now permits you to do is to use an age screen in order to differentiate between your child and non-child users. You may decide to offer different activities, or functions, to your users depending upon age, but you may not altogether prohibit children from participating in a child-directed site or service.