Q: Am I required to inform third parties that my website or online service is directed to children? Even if I am not required to do so, how can I do this? If I signal the nature of my site or service, will this protect me from liability under COPPA?
A: The amended Rule does not require you to inform third parties of the child-directed nature of your site or service, and doing so, without more, will not relieve you of your obligations under COPPA. Remember, you are responsible for the collection of personal information from your users, no matter who is doing the collection; therefore, you will need to do more than simply identify yourself to third parties. As a child-directed property, absent an exception under the amended Rule (see FAQ H.2 below), you must: (1) not collect or allow any other entity to collect personal information from your visitors; or (2) provide notice and obtain prior parental consent before collecting or allowing any entity to collect personal information from your visitors, as well as provide all of the other COPPA protections. In addition, Commission staff recommends that operators of child-directed websites or services signal their status to third parties and you may arrange with the third party collecting the personal information to provide adequate COPPA protections.