The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA ) is a United States federal law designed to limit the collection of personal information from people younger than 13 years of age. In order to comply with COPPA, Wikia requires that all users must be 13 years or older at the time they sign up for an account. During the signup process, you agree to our Terms of Use . Part of that agreement is an affirmative statement that you are 13 or older.

This is more than a simple Wikia policy, it is a means of making sure that we comply with federal law, and lying about age is grounds for immediate consequences.

Because COPPA compliance is an important part of Wikia's policies, many users have questions about the approach their community should take when it comes to the issue of under-aged users.

What Should We Do If We Find an Under-Aged User?Edit

COPPA is not something that we ask our Admins to actively enforce for us. Wikia has it's own internal procedures for dealing  However, if a user admits that they lied during the registration process, it's best to report these instances to us directly via Special:Contact .

Should Admins Seek Out Under-Aged Users?Edit

In terms of general internet privacy, it's a good policy to avoid randomly revealing personal information like your age, location, and date of birth. It is seldom appropriate to directly ask another Wikia user their age, as it also against our Terms of Use to solicit personal information from any user under the age of 18. Age-based witch hunts or setting up "sting" operations are not approaches that we encourage.

What If a User Admits to Being Under-Aged on Chat?Edit

Chat logs or screenshots are not something we can use as direct evidence that a user is underage. Because there is no permanent record, it is difficult to verify admissions in the chat environment.

If you prefer to ban users that have revealed via chat they are underage on your wiki, that is a decision for you and your community. Wikia does not ask Admins to police this aspect of our Terms of Use, but if you have concerns about something said on the wiki itself, you are welcome to send us the link.

What If a User Says They Are 12 But Will be 13 Soon?Edit

If they are not at least 13 years of age, as required by Wikia's Terms of Use, then they are subject to the same penalty whether they sign up on their 5th birthday or 11:59 PM on the day before their 13th. In either case, you are encouraged to report the instance to Community Support directly, and we will take the appropriate action.

Can Communities Choose to Ignore COPPA and Allow Under-Aged Users?Edit

No. This is not a flexible policy that can be adapted to suit the needs of an individual community. The age restriction is a vital part of Wikia's Terms of Use, and helps us ensure that we are compliant with U.S. law.

My Wiki Has Users From Outside the U.S. Does COPPA Apply?Edit

Yes. The age restriction on users applies across international boundaries. Any user who misrepresents their age during the sign up process is subject to the same disciplinary actions. As a U.S.-based company, Wikia complies with all applicable laws.

Privacy is important, and any law designed to increase it is a good thing. Especially when it is directed to provide extra protection for children. While COPPA may keep some potential editors away until they are old enough to participate, the goal of safeguarding children's privacy is a noble one. Complying with this federal law is necessary for Wikia. It is not a commentary on the maturity or editing ability of any particular user or community.