Saturday, April 06, 2013

Instagram contests for tweens might violate COPPA, or at least its spirit

Cecilia Kang has a front page article in the Washington Post Saturday, April 6, about “Instagram” beauty contests that seem to entice pre-teen girls, and which might be in violation of new interpretations of COPPA, story here
The article described a contest where girls find their online photo presence marked up in red (with an X) the way a teacher might grade an algebra test – with red ink. 

Anyone (complete strangers) can vote, and parents have found young girls entered into "contests" without their knowledge from pictures posted by others (which feeds the concern about photos of people in public, which is generally considered legally protected).  
The article notes that teens and tweens seem a lot more concerned about numerical measures of their popularity, as with counts of “likes”, than are many adults.  Someone of my generation hardly thinks that way at all.
Again, going to the Intagram site I see the invitation to put it on the smart phone.
I also see how far behind the times I am in learning to use all the features of my own phone.  Is it because I don’t think I’m pretty enough?  

The Times of India has another typical story in Instagram concerns by parents, here

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